Tesla tweet costs Elon Musk a record $50bn in just two days (but he’s still the richest person in the world)
Elon Musk lost $50billion in two days following a weekend Twitter poll asking if he should sell 10 per cent of his Tesla stock.
The eye-watering fall, which equates to £37.2billion, was the biggest two-day decline ever recorded by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
His wealth tumbled to around £212billion after the electric car maker’s share price nosedived by 16 per cent at the start of the week.
Losses: Tesla Boss Elon Musk’s wealth tumbled to around £212bn after the electric car maker’s share price nosedived by 16% at the start of the week
The slump continued in early trading yesterday, and briefly took Tesla out of the elite $1trillion company club. But these losses reversed later in the day.
Despite the drop in his wealth, Musk was still the richest person in the world by a long stretch.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and Musk’s space-explorer rival, was the second-wealthiest with £152billion.
Musk took to Twitter over the weekend to ask his followers if he should sell a 10 per cent stake amid a row over how much tax billionaires pay.
Before the result came out, he said: ‘I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes.’
Some 58 per cent of respondents then voted ‘yes’, raising the prospect of a large share sale that sent the stock tumbling.
The entrepreneur said he asked the internet whether he should sell the shares because of claims that ‘unrealised capital gains are a form of tax avoidance’.
Under US law, he does not pay tax on his shares in Tesla.
Last year he did not take a salary either – so was not taxed on salaried income at the electric car giant.
Musk has not yet announced a sale of the stock or confirmed that it will definitely go ahead – and the spotlight has now fallen on Tesla’s filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for any clues on the share-sale plans.
SEC rules give companies four working days to report major events. It later emerged that Musk’s brother Kimbal sold £73million of shares before the online vote.
At the time of the poll, 10 per cent of Musk’s shares was worth £15.5billion.
It is now worth around £13billion.
The 50-year-old father of seven has been a controversial Twitter user whose tweets have fallen foul of US regulators.
Officials have previously accused him of manipulating the stock market with posts on the social media site saying he was considering taking the company private.
He has also become a key advocate of cryptocurrencies on the social media site, frequently plugging bitcoin and dogecoin.
Musk co-founded Paypal after dropping out from a postgraduate physics programme at the prestigious Stanford University. Paypal was snapped up by Ebay for £1.2billion in 2002.
He did not co-found Tesla but was one of its earliest investors and became chairman in 2004.
He was first listed on the Forbes list of billionaires in 2012, and his fortune has since rocketed as Tesla’s value has mushroomed and his private space company, Space X, has grown.