Elon Musk is now the world’s second wealthiest person. The New Number One Is
Bernard Arnault has displaced Elon Musk as the world’s richest person, who was once worth up to $340 billion. Elon Musk’s fortune has dropped by more than $100 billion since January to $168.5 billion. That is less than Arnault’s net worth of $172.9 billion as of 10:20 a.m. in New York, which stems primarily from his 48% ownership of fashion conglomerate LVMH.
Musk’s fall from atop the rankings, the first since he was No. 2 in September 2021, caps a turbulent year for the frantic billionaire. In April, he stunned the world with his offer to take Twitter private for $44 billion, demonstrating how the world’s wealthiest individuals could wield their enormous fortunes. However, his agreement came as the Federal Reserve and other central banks began their most aggressive round of monetary tightening in a generation, slashing the valuations of high-flying companies such as Musk’s Tesla Inc.
The stock of the electric vehicle manufacturer is down more than 50% this year.
Musk attempted to back out of the Twitter deal for months but was unsuccessful. He sold more than $15 billion in Tesla stock – about $8.5 billion in April, then another $6.9 billion in August – to fund the purchase. After completing the Twitter acquisition in October, the Bloomberg wealth index deducted $10 billion from his fortune, reflecting the fact that shares of similar companies have fallen since he made his bid. Musk has promised to turn around the social media platform, but he faces several obstacles, some of which he has created. He slammed Apple Inc., threatening to remove Twitter from its App Store at a time when other businesses were already pulling their advertising from the site.
Meanwhile, Twitter is on track to incur annual interest costs that exceed a measure of its earnings for the entire year of 2021. Bloomberg News reported that Musk’s bankers are considering providing him with new margin loans backed by Tesla stock to replace some of the high-interest debt he piled on Twitter. In comparison to Musk, Arnault, the world’s new richest person, is devoid of drama. Arnault has long been a fixture near the top of the wealth rankings, but his fortune has never grown at the rate that US tech billionaires have. Now, his empire is holding up while the wealth of Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Alphabet Inc.’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin is being eroded by rising interest rates.
LVMH, headquartered in Paris, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s designer apparel, fine wines, and retail business have benefited from pent-up demand unleashed when most countries lifted Covid-related shopping and travel restrictions. From Christian Dior and Fendi to jewelers Bulgari and Tiffany & Co. and champagne house Moet & Chandon, Arnault’s brands cater to the wealthy.