Elon Musk has arguably reached more business milestones than anyone in history. From Tesla to SpaceX to hopefully Twitter, he has set innumerable financial records on his way to becoming the richest dude on the planet. Welp, Musk just set another financial record — and an unenviable one at that:
Musk entered 2022 as the richest man in the world and has since become the first person in history to lose $200 billion in personal wealth. Just for grins, that’s an average of $547,945,205.48 per day.
As reported by Bloomberg, Musk’s net worth reached a record high in 2021, as Tesla stock experienced significant growth. Much of Musk’s personal fortune is tied to his ownership and founding of various businesses, including Tesla and SpaceX. The technology industry saw a boost in stock prices during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Tesla’s shares reached all-time highs, leading to Musk becoming the first person to achieve a personal net worth of $340 billion on Nov. 4, 2021.
However, the sometimes mercurial Musk has seen his wealth plummet to $137 billion after Tesla shares tumbled in recent weeks, including an 11 percent drop last Tuesday.
Here’s more, via Bloomberg:
The [$340 billion] milestone reflects just how high Musk soared during the run-up in asset prices during the easy-money pandemic era. Tesla exceeded a $1 trillion market capitalization for the first time in October 2021, joining the likes of ubiquitous technology companies Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc., and Google parent Alphabet Inc., even though its electric vehicles represented only a sliver of the overall auto market.
Now Tesla’s dominance in electric cars, the foundation of its lofty valuation, is in jeopardy as competitors catch up. It’s offering US consumers a rare $7,500 discount to take delivery of its two highest-volume models before year-end, while also reportedly reducing production at its Shanghai plant.
The decline in Tesla shares has been so steep — the shares fell 65% in 2022 — and Musk has sold so much this year to help cover his [$44 billion] Twitter purchase, that they’re no longer his biggest asset, according to Bloomberg’s wealth index.
Musk’s stake in his closely held Space Exploration Technologies Corp., at $44.8 billion, exceeds his approximately $44 billion position in Tesla stock (he still has options worth an estimated $27.8 billion). Musk now owns 42.2% of SpaceX, according to a recent filing.
Needless to say, leftist keyboard warriors are delighted by the news of Musk’s decline in personal wealth:
Elon paid $44B for Twitter. Consequently, he’s lost an additional $200B from his net worth. All to become the world’s most herky-jerky internet troll. Are we sure he didn’t study business at Trump University?
Clever. A jab at both Musk and Trump in a single tweet.
Elon paid $44B for Twitter. Consequently, he's lost an additional $200B from his net worth. All to become the world's most herky-jerky internet troll. Are we sure he didn't study business at Trump University?https://t.co/31Y7BYNJet
— Bob Cesca (@bobcesca_go) January 1, 2023
Pretty sure “Brooke” loathes the ground on which Elon walks:
Good. Hope he continues to lose everything he has ever loved
No doubt a cranky leftist who’s not at all happy with Musk restoring free speech to Twitter.
Good. Hope he continues to lose everything he has ever loved https://t.co/YTRlc8aqgQ
— Brooke Binkowski (@brooklynmarie) December 31, 2022
And this bitter guy was just delusional:
200B+ up in 2021. 200B down in 2022. Knock off the nutty behavior Mr. Musk, or stand next to Kanye West. You can play w/your money, but capitalism taxes you playing w/ everyone else’s.
Capitalism has treated Musk quite well, “John,” wise up.
200B+ up in 2021. 200B down in 2022.
Knock off the nutty behavior Mr. Musk, or stand next to Kanye West. You can play w/your money, but capitalism taxes you playing w/ everyone else’s.
Elon Musk Becomes First Person Ever to Lose $200 Billion https://t.co/AgLe8godaw
— John Hope Bryant (@johnhopebryant) December 30, 2022
While the numbers are inconceivable to us mere mortals, the story isn’t all that complicated.
Musk’s net worth soared during the pandemic, Tesla shares have tanked as EV competition continues to grow — while some investors in Tesla stock complain that Musk has taken his eye off the ball — and the amount of money and time he’s spent on Twitter has also contributed to the $200 billion decline in his personal net worth.
All of that said, I have a few observations.
First, equity investments [stock, in this case] are variable, meaning their values rise and fall. The ability of a stock to rise in value is in part driven by its ability to decline in value. While I’ve believed from Tesla’s initial success that the company’s heydays would someday plateau, as other manufacturers enter the EV market, I also believe Musk benefits from Tesla not being as top-heavy with management as larger, long-established companies like General Motors and Ford, along with luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW.
Second, the question of whether Musk has taken his eye off the Tesla ball by devoting what appears to be an inordinate amount of time repackaging Twitter, including his number of daily tweets, is a valid question — particularly for shareholders of Tesla and SpaceX.
Third, if you lose $200 billion and are still worth $137 billion, you also still have enough “Screw you” money to do whatever the hell you want to. Musk has said on numerous occasions he didn’t buy Twitter to make money, but rather to restore — some might say “save” — freedom of speech on social media while also gaining the attention of Facebook, Google, and Amazon, that there’s a new social media game in town that will undoubtedly call them out at every opportunity.
Besides, what’s $200 billion in Joe Biden’s America?