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Elon Musk eclipses Bill Gates to become the world’s second richest person

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Inside money, markets, and big tech

Musk is now just $54 billion behind Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

Elon Musk is now worth more than $128 billion, making him the second richest person in the world behind Amazon bald-king Jeff Bezos.

Tesla’s chief exec barely eclipsed Microsoft’s Bill Gates to claim the number two position overnight, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index.

Mostly, Musk’s gains can be attributed to Tesla‘s rampaging share price. Musk owns around 20% of all Tesla shares, meaning that when Tesla stock pumps, so does his paper fortune.

Indeed, the enigmatic billionaire has added over $100 billion to his on-paper net worth in 2020, during which time Tesla stock absurdly returned more than 500%.

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This makes Musk the number one earning billionaire for this year. He’s $33 billion ahead of Bezos, and $75 billion ahead of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in 2020.

The thing is, Musk is on path to get even richer, thanks to his enormous executive compensation package with Tesla, which is the biggest of its kind in history. Estimates put the eventual total value of those stock rewards at $55 billion.

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In May, Musk unlocked the first of 12 tranches, worth $780 million at the time. He did so by maintaining Tesla’s average market value above $100 billion for six months.

Musk then unlocked the second and third tranches a few months later, worth more than $2 billion each. By October, he’d qualified his fourth tranche, representing more than $3 billion in potential profit.

Tesla’s market value now sits at nearly $500 billion, with Musk on track to continue unlocking more billions.

For what it’s worth, Forbes ranks billionaires based on an entirely different methodology. Over on that website, Musk is only the world’s fourth richest person, behind Bezos, Gates, and Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy’s Bernard Arnault and family.

Published November 24, 2020 — 13:22 UTC

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