New York (CNN) – Elon Musk’s destruction of wealth marked a milestone.
The CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter is now estimated to be worth an estimated $137 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires IndexWhich is enough to rank him as the second richest person in the world behind Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH. But at his peak, in November 2021, Musk had a net worth of $340 billion.
This makes Musk the first person to lose $200 billion in wealth. As reported by Bloomberg last week.
Most of Musk’s wealth is tied up in Tesla, whose shares have fallen 65% in 2022. Demand for Tesla weakened as competition in electric vehicles from well-known automakers increased last year. The company failed to meet growth targets and cut production in China.
Buyer disinterest in Teslas was on full display last month when the company announced a one-time stock clearance sale. Tesla offered two discounts to buyers who bought a car before the end of the year, initially discounting $3,750 and then doubling the discount to $7,500 within two weeks of the end of 2022.
Investors were wary of the downgrade, with shares down 37% in December.
Critics have long wondered if Tesla was worth the trillion dollars it was worth at the start of 2022. At its peak, Tesla was worth more than 12 of the largest automakers on the planet combined, despite owning a fraction of their sales. Tesla finished the year with a valuation of $386 billion, still well above its auto rivals, but well below tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, Google and Amazon, with which it was compared a year ago.
Musk’s $44 billion purchase of Twitter didn’t help Tesla stock or Musk’s personal wealth either. Musk, Tesla’s largest shareholder, has sold $23 billion in Tesla stock since his interest was posted on Twitter in April.
His constant tweets and increasingly erratic behavior, especially since he took over as CEO of Twitter, have angered Tesla investors, who want Musk to pay more attention to their larger and more valuable company. Musk has defended himself against the criticism by saying he hasn’t missed any big Tesla meetings since taking over Twitter.
Tesla shares may rebound, and Musk can once again become the richest person in the world. But Musk’s reputation as a genius suffered almost as much damage in 2022 as his personal fortune.