Elon Musk lost the title of world’s richest person to LVMH patriarch Bernard Arnault, paying the price for Tesla’s stock decline in January.


Elon Musk has lost bragging rights as the world’s richest businessman to Bernard Arnault, the French patriarch behind luxury goods giant LVMH, in the wake of a disastrous January. Tesla A staggering loss of $200 billion in market capitalization.

The decline reflects a series of setbacks the electric car maker suffered in a month that saw a 26% drop in Tesla’s stock price. As a result, Musk’s personal net worth is currently estimated by Forbes At $205 billion, down from a peak of $320 billion in 2015 November 2021.

The first Tesla The crown surrendered As a leading electric vehicle manufacturer in China BYD In the fourth quarter. Official statements later indicated that Tesla had done so Deep-rooted problems In Europe’s largest car market, while extremely cold temperatures in the United States sparked a wave of fear about the year Reliability of electric vehicles Outside of the warm climates found in California.

The allegations also appeared in Wall Street Journal That Tesla’s board of directors knew that Elon Musk was like that Abuse of a wide range of drugs. Tesla’s CEO then exacerbated the company’s problems Leaning on his fellow directors For a pay package that could double his stake to 25%, lest he develop his AI and robotics plans elsewhere.

Finally, the company’s fourth-quarter earnings last week turned into a fiasco for stock prices after Tesla refused to provide guidance beyond a vague warning that car sales would grow at a rate of “Significantly lessAt a faster pace than in 2023, when it cut prices and sacrificed profits in an attempt to support demand.

Even as revenue rose by a fifth to a record $97 billion in 2023, profits and free cash flow fell across the board. Investors are now looking to analyze the annual 10-K filing Published on Monday For any other red flags, go beyond the unexpected gains $5.9 billion accounting gain Booked in Q4.

The fortune depends on whether the market reclassifies Tesla as an auto stock

Tesla’s only saving grace came in the form of Musk’s proposal to Low-cost entry-level model worth $25,000 will arrive in The second half of next yearalthough investors have yet to see an official rendering of the design.

Musk’s personal fortune now rests largely on one question: whether Tesla should be valued as an AI company, as the CEO insists — in which case 2024’s low growth is little more than an anomaly — or whether it’s closer To a manufacturer of periodic goods. Which is worth much less complications.

In comparison, so is French luxury goods giant LVMH Ride high After fourth-quarter sales, which bucked the trend in the broader sector. CEO Bernard Arnault is now worth $208 billion, according to Reuters. Forbesafter On Friday the stock price rose 12%..

Musk is still within easy reach of Arnault. But if investors decide that Tesla isn’t a technology company after all — and is essentially just an automaker that for a while enjoyed first-mover advantage — his fortune could decline much further.

BYD, V Vanguard from U.S Chinese electric vehicle industry, offers a cautionary tale in this regard. While Musk expects the automaker to do so Demolishing global competitionIt is worth only $70 billion. That’s significantly less than the 13% stake in Tesla that Musk owns, so there’s likely a lot of downside still to be done if his automaker is reclassified.

This story originally appeared on Fortune.com

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