Elon Musk is the biggest billionaire loser so far in 2024, as he awaits his big bonus

Topline

Tesla’s much-ballyhooed CEO Elon Musk’s net worth fell faster than any other billionaire in the world in the first six months of the year, according to Forbes estimates. It’s a rare loss in what has otherwise been a bumper period for the mega-rich as the stock market has boomed. But a massive bonus from Tesla shareholders could boost Musk’s fortune even further.

Key Facts

Musk’s net worth fell from $251.3 billion to $221.4 billion between Dec. 31, 2023, and June 28, the last day of normal trading in the first half of the year. That’s a bigger drop in Musk’s net worth than any other billionaire tracked by Forbes. Still, Musk is the world’s richest person.

Musk’s dwindling nest egg is largely due to a Delaware judge’s cancellation of his record $51 billion in Tesla compensation, prompting Forbes to discount the stock option value by 50%, as it was uncertain whether Musk would ever receive the options.

Forbes is using the same discount even after Tesla shareholders re-approved the package on June 13. The company likely faces a lengthy and uncertain appeal of the January ruling.

Price aside, it was still a shaky six months for Musk’s fortune. The value of his existing 13% stake in Tesla fell by about $20 billion, while the automaker’s shares fell 20% on falling profits and car deliveries. That was partially offset by Musk’s stake in his generative artificial intelligence startup xAI, which grew to $14.4 billion. (Musk also has a roughly $75 billion stake in privately held aerospace company SpaceX, a $7 billion stake in his social media company X, and smaller stakes in his other ventures, such as experimental human brain startup Neuralink.)

The first half of 2024 has been largely kind to the world’s richest people, with the combined wealth of Forbes’ top 10 richest people rising from $1.47 trillion at the end of 2023 to $1.66 trillion at the end of June. But Musk is joined by several other big names as one of the few less wealthy centibillionaires.

The fortune of Europe’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, fell from $200.7 billion to $193.8 billion as shares in his luxury empire LVMH fell. The fortune of Mexico’s richest man, Carlos Slim Helú, fell from $105.3 billion to $91.4 billion as shares in his telecommunications giant fell. The fortune of Nike co-founder Phil Knight fell from $42.9 billion to $33.7 billion as Nike’s stock price fell to a four-year low. And philanthropist Mackenzie Scott, whose fortune comes from her stake in Amazon, saw her fortune fall by $4.7 billion, largely due to the size of her charitable donations as Amazon’s stock price rose.

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Billionaires Who Lost the Most in the First Half of 2024

  1. Elon Musk, $29.9 billion poorer
  2. Dieter Schwarz, $15.4 billion
  3. Carlos Slim Helu & Family, $13.9 Billion
  4. Zhong Shanshan, $11.3 billion
  5. Andrew Forrest & Family, $9.5 Billion
  6. Francoise Bettencourt Meyers & family, $9.4 billion
  7. Phil Knight & Family, $9.2 Billion
  8. James Ratcliffe, $7.5 billion
  9. Bernard Arnault & family, $6.9 billion
  10. Low Tuck Kwong, $6.7 billion

Who will be the richest in 2024?

There were a host of big winners as stock indexes around the world, including the US S&P 500, Europe’s Stoxx 600, Japan’s Nikkei 225 and India’s Nifty 50, hit new record highs. No one got richer this year than Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, as the Silicon Valley giant’s leader made a $64.1 billion profit this year, rising from the world’s 27th richest person to 14th. Most of the other top winners were also tied to companies that benefited from the artificial intelligence boom, with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg (up $61.5 billion), Dell CEO Michael Dell (up $35.8 billion), Oracle Chairman Larry Ellison (up $37.7 billion) and Google co-founder Larry Page (up $33.1 billion) rounding out the top five. Mukesh Ambani was the biggest gainer in Asia with an increase of $22.4 billion, Amancio Ortega was the biggest winner in Europe with an increase of $10.7 billion, Eduardo Saverin was the biggest gainer in South America with $8.1 billion in new wealth and Aliko Dangote was the biggest gainer in Africa with an increase of $3.9 billion.

Large number

$99 billion. That’s how much less Musk is worth than he was at his peak of about $320 billion in November 2021. Tesla shares are down more than 50% from their all-time high that year, a span in which the S&P has risen about 22%.

Surprising fact

The wealth of the 25 richest people, excluding Elon Musk, grew by an average of $14.4 billion in the first six months of this year at the end of 2023.

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