SUSANA BATES / AFP
Weighed down by Tesla’s annual results and its thundering takeover of Twitter, Elon Musk’s fortune melted like snow in the sun in 2020.
ECONOMY – Elon Musk’s fortune has melted like snow in the sun. At 51, the new boss of Twitter will have known everything financially. Becoming the second person to reach the symbolic bar of 200 billion dollars in personal wealth, after Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk has now set a new record.
According to the American chain Bloomberg, the CEO of Tesla is now the only person in the world to have lost nearly 200 billion dollars. Based on data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, grouping the daily ranking of the 500 richest people in the world (according to their net worth), the media claims that Elon Musk saw his fortune drop to 137 billion dollars, after a dark year for Tesla.
On November 4, 2021, the multi-billionaire’s personal fortune still peaked at $340 billion, making Elon Musk the richest person in the world. Before being overtaken in December 2022 by the French Bernard Arnault, at the head of the world’s number one luxury group LVMH. Bernard Arnault is today the holder of a fortune estimated at 162 billion dollars, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The shadow of the Twitter takeover
To explain the reasons for this unprecedented tumble, it is impossible not to dwell on the latest stock market data for the Tesla brand. On Wall Street, the automaker has indeed lost two-thirds of its stock market value in 2022, due to fears about the demand for electric vehicles, not to mention the dismay generated by the tribulations of the entrepreneur after the takeover of Twitter.
The manufacturer nevertheless increased its deliveries by 45% over the first three quarters, despite supply problems, and generated nearly 9 billion dollars in profits over this period despite sharply rising expenses. But this is still below the long-term objective of increasing deliveries by 50% per year.
And even if Tesla still largely dominates the American market with 65% of the market share in the first nine months of the year, it is much less than the 79% of 2020 and this figure should fall to less than 20% in 2025. , predict analysts at S&P Global.
On Tuesday, December 27, Tesla’s stock market share fell again (-11%), the latest in a long series for the company in 2022. Especially since the shadow of Twitter, bought for 44 billion dollars by Elon Musk at the end of October, still hangs. Tesla needs one “leader who can guide him through the storm” and not a boss “who focuses on Twitter”estimates Dan Ives, of Wedbush, in another note published at the end of 2022.
Loss of credibility with investors
For this famous takeover, the multibillionaire firstly sold several billion dollars of Tesla shares to finance the acquisition and then the operating costs of his new toy, selling again for 3.6 billion at the beginning of December when he had claimed in the spring that they have no intention of selling more.
Elon Musk has also taken the social network into turmoil, laying off half of the employees, authorizing the return of suspended Internet users like Donald Trump, or banishing journalists for still unclear reasons. “Musk has lost all credibility with the investment community”says Dan Ives, referring to “Broken Promises” on share sales, “The Twitter Fiasco” and “political controversies” on the platform.
He became “untenable” to evaluate Tesla without taking into account Elon Musk’s erratic management of Twitter, abounds in a recent note by Colin Rusch of Oppenheimer. But in defense of the South African-born entrepreneur, Tesla’s stock has also suffered from the general decline in stock markets this year. In a conversation on Twitter in mid-December, Elon Musk also acknowledged that rising interest rates and the economic situation were likely to slow down demand for Tesla. But “I still continue to predict that in the long term, Tesla will be the company with the highest valuation in the world”he said.
On Wednesday, in a message to employees of the company consulted by the CNBC channel, he called on them not to “not worrying too much about the madness of the stock market”. It must be said that the group’s share had jumped by more than 700% in 2020, then by 50% in 2021. And if it recovered nearly 13% over the last three days of the year, it still posted a drop of 65% over the whole of 2022.
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