Elon Musk’s week is off to a great start.
Tesla’s stock soared on Monday morning after Hertz announced plans to buy 100,000 electric vehicles (mainly Model 3 sedans) for its rental car fleet, pushing up Musk’s fortune by $13.9 billion since Friday. His net worth, as of noon Eastern time on Monday, climbed to $243.6 billion, Forbes estimates—making him the richest he’s ever been, and likely the richest person to ever walk the planet. He’s richer than any billionaire Forbes has ever tracked: Musk is currently worth more than Google cofounder Larry Page (No. 6 richest) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (No. 7 richest) combined.
For much of his wealth, Musk can thank his 21% stake (discounted for loan obligations) in Tesla, which he helped launch, first as an investor, nearly two decades ago. Shares closed Friday at about $910. By Monday at noon, the stock had jumped to roughly $978 apiece—up 33% since the year began, and enough to give Tesla a $968 billion market capitalization. Musk also has a stake in privately held rocket company SpaceX, which Musk says could attempt its first orbital launch next month. The business was most recently valued by investors at $74 billion, following a February funding round.
Musk passed Jeff Bezos to become the richest person in the world in September and hasn’t looked back since. At the time, he joked to Forbes about sending a silver medal to the Amazon founder and rival space billionaire. The gap continues to widen. Bezos’ fortune was down $1.3 billion on Monday as Amazon’s stock faltered ahead of its third quarter earnings report. Don’t worry about the Seattle tech mogul too much, though: he’s still worth an estimated $192.8 billion. When Amazon stock peaked earlier this year in July, Bezos was worth an estimated $222 billion.
The pandemic has worsened U.S. income disparities, and the wealthiest layer of society is emerging richer than ever before. Between January 2020 and April 2021, America’s billionaires got about $1.2 trillion richer. In dollar terms, Musk was the biggest gainer of them all. Two years ago, Forbes pinned his net worth at $19.9 billion—less than one-tenth of what he’s worth today.
The Hertz deal represents the largest-ever order for electric vehicles, and it will bring about $4.2 billion in revenue to Tesla, according to Bloomberg. The news comes just four months after the century-old rental agency, which got its start renting out Ford Model T cars in 1918, was bought out of bankruptcy. Hertz says Tesla’s Model 3 will be available to rent in major U.S. and European cities by early November, according to a press release. Hertz’s stock also jumped upon the news Monday morning, though it traded at about $26.55 as of noon Eastern time, down roughly 4% from the market open.