Tesla chief executive Elon Musk on Thursday surpassed Amazon.com founder Jeffrey Bezos as the world's richest person. A jump in the price of Tesla stock lifted the value of his wealth on paper to more than $188 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Tesla shares rose more than 7% on Thursday, helping push Musk's net worth to $1.5 billion above Bezos' fortune, according to Bloomberg, citing data tracked by its wealth index. Shares of the electric-car maker have enjoyed a spectacular run in the past year, surging almost 800% from about $92 a year ago to more than $811 in Thursday's trading.
Responding on Twitter to an account that pointed out he was now the world's richest person, Musk responded, "How strange." He later added, "Well, back to work …"
Tesla's stock was added to the S&P 500 last month. The company's value of $768 billion is greater than that of Ford, GM, Volkswagen and Toyota combined.
Musk's rise to the top of the rich list comes as the nation's billionaires have seen their fortunes surge by more than $1 trillion during the pandemic, thanks in part to a strong stock market fueled by investor expectations for an economic recovery in 2021. Companies such as Amazon have seen sales and profits spike as consumers shifted their spending patterns and changed their behaviors to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic.
To be sure, the change in ranking might not last given the variable nature of high-profile stocks such as Amazon and Tesla. And Bezos would likely remain the world's richest person without his divorce in 2019, which gave his ex-wife MacKenzie Scott about 25% of their holdings in Amazon.
Scott, meanwhile, is the 23rd richest person in the world, with a net worth of more than $56 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Last month, Scott said she donated more than $4.2 billion of her fortune to charities including anti-hunger groups and educational institutions.
Amazon's stock has been no slacker, either. Since last January, its shares have gained more than 66%.
First published on January 7, 2021 / 3:42 PM
© 2021 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.