Elon Musk’s net worth plunged last week as tech stocks got hammered and Tesla shares’ stunning rise quickly unraveled.
Wall Street is growing increasingly nervous about rising bond yields, which could make borrowing more expensive. That could eat into corporate profits, which is why investors have begun to reverse some of the positions they took over the past year in high-growth but risky tech stocks like Tesla.
Tesla’s stock fell 11.5% last week. Musk, who owns nearly 18% of Tesla’s shares, bore most of the brunt of that massive sell-off.
Musk’s wealth fell by $27 billion last week, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. The decline in his net value is roughly equal to the entire fortune held by Dyson founder James Dyson — the 52nd richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg.
Musk and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have been swapping places atop Bloomberg’s list of richest people in the world since January. But Musk now sits in a distant second place: $157 billion, compared to Bezos’ net worth of $177 billion. Musk remains $21 billion ahead of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who remains the third-richest person on the planet.
Tesla’s stock gained 743% in 2020, propelling it to No. 5 on the list of most valuable companies on the stock market. And the stock continued to climb in the early weeks of of 2021, gaining another 25% to a record high close of $883.90 on January 26. But shares have lost nearly a third of their value since then, placing them firmly into bear market territory.
The decline sent Tesla’s market value to No. 7, behind Facebook and Berkshire Hathaway but ahead of JPMorgan Chase. Friday it closed below $600 a share for the first time since early December. Shares were down an additional 3% in premarket trading Monday.
Even if Tesla’s stock continues to sink, Musk still stands to become much richer in 2021 and beyond.
He received four grants to buy 8.4 million Tesla shares each in 2020. Each of those was worth $4.5 billion at Friday’s closing price, after taking into account the $70 per share excerise price Musk will have to pay. Musk will probably receive three additional options grants this year, each as large and as lucrative as those he received in 2020.
Musk has not exercised any of his options. Executives typically exercise them when they are due to expire, or to free up cash. Musk has never sold Tesla shares.
Musk also is the largest shareholder at privately-held SpaceX. The company completed a new funding round in February. While it has not disclosed the details, numerous published reports say the $850 million that it raised increased the valuation of that company 60% to $74 billion.