Tesla’s billionaire cofounder and CEO, Elon Musk, overtook Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg to become the world’s fourth-richest person on Wednesday, as Tesla’s stock continued to skyrocket following news that it will be added to the S&P 500 Index late next month.
Shares of the electric-vehicle maker surged nearly 10% as of 2:25 p.m. EST on Wednesday, pushing Musk’s net worth up by $8.3 billion, to $105.4 billion. That makes him the fourth-richest person in the world, according to Forbes’ estimates, surpassing Zuckerberg, who has a net worth of $100.6 billion.
Musk’s fortune has grown at an astonishing rate this year, with Tesla’s stock up more than 460% in 2020. That has massively boosted Musk’s net worth, which has risen by nearly $76 billion since Forbes finalized its World’s Billionaires list on March 18, when he had a fortune of $24.6 billion. He owns a 21% stake in Tesla, and his rocket company, SpaceX, was valued at $46 billion by investors in August.
Tesla’s stock has been on an upswing ever since news that the company will be added to the S&P 500 Index on December 21. S&P Global first made the announcement after the closing bell on Monday. Shares of Tesla subsequently climbed more than 8% on Tuesday, lifting Musk’s net worth by about $6 billion.
Tesla continued to rally on Wednesday, as widely-followed Morgan Stanley MS -0.3% auto analyst Adam Jonas upgraded the stock to a “buy” rating. Despite sitting on the sidelines for the stock’s 500% surge over the last 12 months, Jonas finally gave it the nod of approval, raising his price target to $540 from $360 per share (Tesla’s stock currently trades at around $485 per share). “Tesla is on the verge of a profound model shift from selling cars to generating high margin, recurring software and services revenue,” Jonas predicted in his note to clients.
As Musk’s fortune has continued to grow this year, propelling him up the ranks of the world’s wealthiest billionaires, only Amazon AMZN +0.4% CEO Jeff Bezos ($183.1 billion), LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault ($139 billion) and Microsoft MSFT +0.6% cofounder Bill Gates ($119 billion) are now richer than he is.
With Tesla’s recent rally, Musk is now within striking distance of becoming the world’s third-richest person: He’s less than $15 billion behind Gates, the current holder of that spot. Tesla’s stock would need to rise by more than 15% for Musk to gain that title.
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