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Elon Musk soars past Warren Buffett on billionaires ranking

·2-min read
CAPE CANAVERAL, UNITED STATES - 2020/05/30: SpaceX founder Elon Musk looks on after being recognized by U.S. President Donald Trump at NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building after watching the successful launch of a Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center. NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station, becoming the first people to launch into space from American soil since the end of the Space Shuttle program in 2011. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
SpaceX founder Elon Musk at NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building after watching the successful launch of a Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft, 30 May 2020. (PHOTO: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

By Tom Maloney

(Bloomberg) -- Elon Musk is now richer than Warren Buffett.

The fortune of Tesla Inc.’s chief executive officer rose US$6.1 billion on Friday, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, after the carmaker’s stock surged 11%. Musk is now the world’s seventh-richest person, also ahead of tech titans Larry Ellison and Sergey Brin.

The 49-year-old owns about a fifth of Tesla’s outstanding stock, which comprises the bulk of his US$70.5 billion fortune. His majority ownership of closely held SpaceX accounts for about US$15 billion.

Shares of the electric-car maker have risen 269% this year. The company’s booming valuation helped Musk land a US$595 million payday earlier this year, making him the highest-paid CEO in the U.S.

Musk is the latest tech entrepreneur to rise above Buffett in the ranks of the world’s richest. Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft Corp. CEO, and Google’s co-founders Larry Page and Brin also have leapfrogged the Oracle of Omaha. And Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani surpassed Buffett this week.

Mike Novogratz, the longtime money manager who now runs digital currency investor Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd., warned that valuations of technology companies are getting way too high and that small investors should get out of the market before it crashes.

“We are in irrational exuberance -- this is a bubble,” he said Friday in a Bloomberg Television interview. “The economy is grinding, slowing down, we’re lurching in and out of Covid, yet the tech market makes new highs every day. That’s a classic speculative bubble.”

Buffett’s fortune dropped earlier this week when he donated US$2.9 billion in Berkshire Hathaway stock to charity. The 89-year-old has given away more than US$37 billion of Berkshire shares since 2006.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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