Elon Musk is starting the new year off strong. Over the course of a few hours on Monday, the twitter-savvy mogul added about $25.9 billion to his net worth. Musk’s fortune stands at $297.6 billion as of 1 p.m. in New York, Forbes estimates, putting him close to the $300 billion threshold he briefly passed in November. He remains the world’s richest person, some $97 billion ahead of second-place Bernard Arnault, CEO of French fashion empire LVMH. (Jeff Bezos is No. 3 richest.)
As usual, Musk has Tesla’s soaring stock price to thank. On Sunday, the electric car maker announced it delivered more than 936,000 cars in 2021, beating analysts’ projections. Investors were quick to react when the market opened on Monday, paying less heed to news from December 30 that the company recalled 475,000 of its cars manufactured between 2014 and 2021: Tesla shares jumped more than 11% as of 1 p.m. The company’s market capitalization has again topped the $1 trillion mark, after dipping below that level last month.
Musk, who is Tesla’s CEO and owns about 15.6% of its stock, continues to sell shares. In late December, he closed out the year by unloading nearly 3 million shares on the open market to cover the tax bills on some 5.7 million stock options he simultaneously exercised. Musk tweeted in December that he would pay about $11 billion in taxes for 2021, which could place him among the biggest individual U.S. taxpayers ever. He sold 15.7 million Tesla shares, worth more than $16 billion (pre-tax), over the course of the year.
Musk has been on quite a ride. His fortune jumped by more than $200 billion over 2020 and 2021, including adding $116 billion to his net worth last year alone–setting the record for the biggest one-year gain of any billionaire Forbes has ever tracked.
Another potential windfall awaits him later this month, when Tesla is slated to report fourth quarter earnings. If the company hits certain operational and valuation goals–as analysts widely expect–Musk will earn millions of lucrative stock options that could pad his fortune with billions of dollars.