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Elon Musk loses US$15 billion in a day after Bitcoin warning

·2-min read
SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk poses as he arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer Awards ceremony, in Berlin, on December 1, 2020. (Photo by Britta Pedersen / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BRITTA PEDERSEN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Elon Musk is no longer the world’s richest person after Tesla shares slid 8.6% on Monday. (PHOTO: BRITTA PEDERSEN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

By Devon Pendleton

(Bloomberg) — Elon Musk is no longer the world’s richest person after Tesla Inc. shares slid 8.6% on Monday, wiping US$15.2 billion from his net worth.

Tesla’s biggest decline since September was fueled in part by Musk’s comments over the weekend that the prices of Bitcoin and smaller rival Ether “do seem high.” His message — via his favoured medium of Twitter — came two weeks after Tesla announced it added US$1.5 billion in Bitcoin to its balance sheet.

Musk also tweeted earlier Monday that the company’s Model Y Standard Range SUV would still be available “off the menu,” backing up reports from electric vehicle news site Electrek that the model had been removed from its online configurator.

Musk drops to second on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index of the world’s 500 richest people with a net worth of US$183.4 billion — down from a peak of US$210 billion in January. Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos reclaimed the top spot even as his fortune fell by US$3.7 billion to US$186.3 billion Monday.

The two billionaires have been swapping places since January as the value of Tesla fluctuated. The stock surged as much as 25% to start 2021 before wiping off almost all of this year’s gain. Musk briefly overtook Bezos after his rocket company SpaceX raised US$850 million earlier this month, valuing the company at US$74 billion, a 60% jump from August.

Bezos occupied the top spot on the ranking for three straight years prior to January, when Musk eclipsed the e-commerce titan thanks to a 794% rally in Tesla shares.

The market selloff on Monday hit many of the world’s ultra-rich. Zhong Shanshan, Asia’s wealthiest person, was the second-biggest decliner on the Bloomberg index, dropping by US$5.1 billion as his bottled-water company fell 4.5%. Colin Huang of Pinduoduo Inc., Reliance Industries Ltd.’s Mukesh Ambani and Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s Pony Ma all lost more than US$2.5 billion each.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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