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Tesla CEO Elon Musk  (AFP)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk (AFP)

Elon Musk surpasses Jeff Bezos to become world's richest person

Including Thursday's gains in Tesla shares, Musk had a net worth of more than $188.5 billion, $1.5 billion more than Bezos, according to Bloomberg News report

Tesla Inc chief and billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk surpassed Amazon.com Inc's top boss Jeff Bezos to become the world's richest person, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday.

Including Thursday's gains in Tesla shares, Musk had a net worth of more than $188.5 billion, $1.5 billion more than Bezos, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index.

At 10:54 ET, Tesla Inc's shares were up 5.65% or 42.75 points at $798.73.

A 4.8% rally in the electric carmaker’s share price Thursday boosted Musk past Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people.

The 49-year-old South Africa-born engineer’s net worth was $188.5 billion at 10:15 a.m. in New York, $1.5 billion more than Bezos, who has held the top spot since October 2017. As chief executive officer of Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, Musk is also a rival to Bezos, owner of Blue Origin LLC, in the private space race.

“How strange," Musk tweeted Thursday on the news. "Well, back to work …"

Musk only just passed Bill Gates in November to become the second-richest person in the world. The milestone caps an extraordinary 12 months for Musk. Over the past year his net worth soared by more than $150 billion in possibly the fastest bout of wealth creation in history. Fueling his rise was an unprecedented rally in Tesla’s share price, which surged 743% last year on the back of consistent profits, inclusion in the S&P 500 Index and enthusiasm from Wall Street and retail investors alike.

The jump in Tesla’s stock price further inflates a valuation light-years apart from other automakers on numerous metrics. Tesla produced just over half-a-million cars last year, a fraction of the output of Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. The company is poised for further near-term gains as Democrats captured both Georgia Senate seats and handed control of Congress to the party that’s advocated for quicker adoption of electric vehicles.

The world’s 500 richest people added a record $1.8 trillion to their combined net worth last year, equivalent to a 31% increase. The gains were disproportionately at the top, where five individuals hold fortunes in excess of $100 billion and another 20 are worth at least $50 billion.

Less than a week into the new year the rankings have already been upended by extraordinary rallies. China’s Zhong Shanshan has vaulted past Warren Buffett to claim the sixth slot after shares of his bottled-water company surged, adding $15.2 billion to his fortune.

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