Elon Musk’s turbulent 2022 means he may no longer be the world’s richest person

December 7, 2022, 4:50 PM UTC
Elon Musk's hold on the title of world's richest man is slipping.
Robyn Beck—AFP/Getty Images

Elon Musk’s $44 billion bet on Twitter might be costing him the title of world’s richest man.

In real-time rankings from Forbes, Musk slipped into second place briefly early Wednesday, following his big cash outlay for the social media company and the subsequent drop in Tesla’s stock price. Whether Musk stood in first or second place was often changing moment by moment.

Close on his heels and seemingly poised to take the bragging rights for world’s richest person in the near term is Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of Louis Vuitton’s parent company LVMH, with an estimated $185.7 billion. At times Wednesday, his fortune topped Musk’s but as of 11:30 a.m. ET, he was a hair’s width behind.

Musk has held the title of world’s richest person with Forbes since September 2021, displacing Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. But 2022 saw him laying out big portions of that wealth to purchase Twitter, which was (in part) a catalyst for Tesla’s volatility, which brought his number even lower.

The Forbes ranking is just one estimation of wealth, of course. Bloomberg maintains its own list of the world’s billionaires, and its calculations shows Musk with a $14 billion lead over Arnault as of Dec. 6. (Bloomberg does not update its numbers in real time.)

Musk is hardly hurting for cash, of course. But Tesla’s loss of more than 47% of its value since the outspoken entrepreneur bought Twitter has impacted his bottom line. Earlier this year, according to Forbes, he was worth more than $270 billion. As of Nov. 22, he had lost $100 billion in net worth this year alone.

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