Shares of the electric vehicle giant run by the oft-erratic billionaire Elon Musk rallied to their highest price since early this year in Friday trading, as Musk’s net worth, battered badly by his controversial purchase and leadership of Twitter, closes in on once again becoming the largest in the world.
Tesla shares ticked up 3% Friday, now up 16% over the last week as the automaker rides optimism about its prospects at home and abroad following a partnership with Ford, opening its EV chargers to the legacy American car company’s vehicles, and Musk’s meeting with Chinese business and political leaders.
Musk’s China visit is crucial for Tesla’s outlook given the nation accounts for about a fifth of Tesla’s sales, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note to clients Tuesday, while Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Delaney noted last week the Ford partnership represents a “modest incremental positive” for Tesla stock, as it should bring in up to $3 billion in new revenue.
Tesla’s $214 share price is its highest since mid-February—a massive boon for Musk and his fortune: The 51-year-old’s $207 billion net worth is 19% higher than it was just a month ago, according to Forbes’ calculations.
Musk, who lost his mantle as the world’s richest man to French luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault late last year, now trails Arnault by just $13 billion, a drastic decrease from March, when the gap was more than $30 billion.
Musk’s fortune is now at its highest level of 2023, up about 50% from its January bottom just below $140 billion, though it remains far below its late 2021 peak of about $320 billion.
After hitting a split-adjusted high of $410 in November 2021, Tesla shares sank as much as 75% to a two-year low of $102 in January, largely thanks to Musk-related distractions related to Twitter. But the stock has since rallied dramatically after a pair of strong quarterly earnings reports. Musk owns about 13% of Tesla, accounting for 58% of his net worth as of March, while his equity in Twitter and the private aerospace and communications giant SpaceX make up roughly 38% of his fortune. Musk first became earth’s richest person in September 2021 after overtaking Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, holding onto the crown for 14 months until Tesla’s stock crash throughout 2022 caused him to slip behind Arnault in December. Musk offloaded more than $40 billion worth of Tesla stock between November 2021 and December 2022. A large chunk of the sales were to fund his $44 billion purchase of Twitter.
After surpassing Bezos as the richest person in the world in September 2021, Musk gloated in an email to Forbes: “I’m sending a giant statue of the digit ‘2’ to Jeffrey B., along with a silver medal.” It’s unclear whether Musk plans to rub it in to Arnault should he once again grow richer than the Frenchman.
Elon Musk Visits China Amid Rising Geopolitical Tensions (Forbes)
Behind The Billions: Elon Musk (Forbes)