Tesla CEO Elon Musk is closing in on reclaiming the title of world’s richest person since falling behind Bernard Arnault in December, as Tesla’s shares rose 70 per cent this year, reported by news agency Bloomberg. According to the report, it may take a bit longer for Musk to overtake Bernard Arnault, the French luxury-goods titan, though, after disclosing this week he gave 11.6 million Tesla shares to unnamed charitable causes between August and December.
The stock was worth about $1.9 billion, based on closing prices on the days Musk donated the securities. The disclosure comes as Musk, 51, has narrowed the gap to Arnault to less than $10 billion amid signs of growing demand for Tesla’s vehicles.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Musk now has a fortune of about $184 billion after his latest donation. That’s down from a peak of more than $300 billion in late 2021 before he decided to buy Twitter in a leveraged buyout near the peak of the tech market, but up more almost $50 billion this year.
Musk, the biggest individual shareholder, previously donated shares in the company in 2021 worth about $5.7 billion, making it at the time one of the largest philanthropic donations in history.
The recipient for the donation was later revealed as the Musk Foundation, which has recently provided funds to education and carbon-removal projects as well as non-profits in the area around Brownsville, Texas, close to his SpaceX spaceport.
The 2021 gift dramatically increased the size of the foundation, which moved from California to Texas during the pandemic.
The boost in the organisation’s assets means Musk will have to become more active philanthropically. Private foundations in the US must spend 5 per cent of assets for charitable purposes each year. In 2021, Musk sent about $160 million to non-profits, by far the most he’d donated from his organization in a calendar year.