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What just happened? Elon Musk is often referred to as the richest person in the world, but not everyone agrees that he currently holds the title. According to Forbes, the Twitter boss has been overtaken on the rich list by Bernard Arnault, who is now number one with a $187.5 billion fortune.
Most of Musk's wealth is tied to his Tesla stock. Although the EV giant has seen its share price rise by more than 1,000% over the last two years, it has been on a downward trajectory for much of 2022—it's fallen 50% this year—partially due to Musk's protracted and distracting $44 billion acquisition of Twitter.
"The big problem is that many investors have lost some confidence in Tesla because Musk is being forced to focus so much of his attention on Twitter," Miller Tabak's chief market strategist Matt Maley told Forbes.
Tesla's price fell another 6.3% on Monday, wiping around $7.4 billion off Musk's wealth. The CEO is now worth $181.3 billion, which puts him below new number one Bernard Arnault. The chairman of French luxury conglomerate LVMH has a fortune of $187.5 billion.
Tesla's share price is falling after two years of rising rapidly
Arnault and Musk have been swapping places on Forbes' real-time billionaires list for a few weeks now. The Frenchman had only been able to hold onto the top spot for a short while before Musk retook the number one position, but the current $6 billion difference between the two men is a vast chasm, so unless Tesla shares surge, Musk might have to accept the title of second-richest person in the world for a while.
The big caveat here is that the list is put together by Forbes using its own methodology to work out an individual's total wealth. Bloomberg's Billionaire Index, which uses a different method of measuring fortunes, also notes Musk's $7 billion decline this week, but it still has him at number one with $168 billion. Arnault is breathing down his fellow billionaire's neck with $167 billion, so the positions could soon change on Bloomberg's list, too.
It's no secret that Musk has a lot to deal with a Twitter right now, from the lawsuits filed by former employees to EU warnings about the platform's lack of moderation helping Vladimir Putin.