Three-way race for world’s richest emerges with Musk buoyed by pay vote

21 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Three-way race for world’s richest emerges with Musk buoyed by pay vote Elon Musk

eBusiness Weekly

The world’s three richest billionaires are in a fierce race for first place.

Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bernard Arnault have occupied the top three spots on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index for 94 percent of the year.

But fluctuations in their wealth have led the trio to swap places six times since May 29 — a frenetic pace for a hierarchy that had largely held steady since Musk lost his top ranking in early March.

The game of musical chairs has been influenced by a fight over Musk’s pay package, a snap election call in France and a tech-stock rally that shows no signs of letting up.

Musk (52) with a net worth of US$210,1 billion, moved back into first place Monday for only the second time since early March, replacing Bezos.

Tesla shares rallied last week after shareholders voted to re-approve his 2018 compensation package, which was voided by a Delaware judge, and move the company’s state of incorporation to Texas. That lifted an overhang on the stock, as investors feared Musk might leave the company if the award was rejected.

Musk and Tesla’s board spent the last two months rallying support for the measures, putting particular emphasis on the pay deal that made Musk eligible for as much as US$55,8 billion in stock options based on the company hitting certain milestones. Those options now account for almost a quarter of his net worth.

His fortune was also buoyed by a new funding round that’s set to value his artificial-intelligence venture xAI at more than US$24 billion.

Bloomberg’s wealth index estimates that Musk owns 65 percent of the company, which is using data from social-media posts on X to train its chatbot, Grok.

Arnault, meanwhile, recently fell to third place with a fortune of US$200,4 billion after spending most of the past three months in first. The 75-year-old’s net worth has slumped by nearly US$13 billion since French President Emmanuel Macron’s surprise election call sent that country’s markets to their worst week in years.

He derives most of his wealth from LVMH, the world’s largest maker of luxury goods.

Amazon.com founder Bezos (60) is currently second on Bloomberg’s wealth index with a net worth of US$206,6 billion. Since May 29, he’s retaken the top spot three times as Amazon shares trade near record highs.

The stock has been the beneficiary of a broader rally in big tech that’s responsible for nearly three quarters of the S&P 500 Index’s gain this year. — Bloomberg

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