Posted Oct 5, 2022, 2:34 PMUpdated Oct 5, 2022, 6:27 PM
Everything he touches turns to gold. Electric cars, rockets, online payment: it is by multiplying ever more insane bets that Elon Musk has built his immense fortune – 300 billion dollars at its peak a year ago. A paper fortune, invested in large part in the company Tesla which he co-founded and which he has directed since 2004.
About fifty of these billions have been erased since the start of the year, the price of the pioneer of the electric car having fallen by 30%, following the general movement of tech stocks. Elon Musk also rocked the Tesla title by launching a takeover offer on Twitter in April for 44 billion – then, after having withdrawn it, by reissuing this proposal on Tuesday.
He remains the richest man in the world, a title he snatched from Jeff Bezos last year, after catapulting his all-stock wealth to the top. Before the Covid-19 crisis broke out, it was worth “only” $27 billion. There has never been anyone so rich on the planet.
A giga-plan of profit-sharing
Tesla’s market capitalization exceeded 1 trillion in 2021 and is now around 950 billion. Elon Musk does not receive a salary but he benefited from a giga-plan of profit-sharing via stock options. As the crossing of certain levels of stock market value, turnover, profits, his fortune was thus able to snowball.
This method of remuneration enabled him not to pay income tax. But that won’t last, since the Twitter buyer sold Tesla shares – for 32 billion in less than a year, according to Reuters -, reducing his stake from 20% to 15%.
Elon Musk became rich at an early age. His first company, an online publishing tool for newspapers, was sold to Compaq in 1999 for 22 million when he was twenty-seven. In 2002, he sold the PayPal online payment platform to eBay for 1.4 billion. With the hundred million that he withdraws from the sale, he founds SpaceX, with the crazy idea of creating reusable rockets. His unlisted company is under contract with NASA.
He made his appearance on the Forbes list of billionaires in 2012 thanks to Tesla, IPO two years earlier, and the launch of the Model S. While Tesla and SpaceX mobilize most of his time, this curious engineer has continued to multiply companies, investing in solar panels and in cryptocurrencies. Elon Musk also created Neuralink (brain implants to enable the paralyzed to walk) and The Boring Company (tunnelling).