Jeff Bezos reclaims top spot on world's richest list

A 2.4% slide in Tesla shares erases $4.6bn from Elon Musk's personal fortune, ending his six-week stint as the world's richest person

FILE PHOTO: Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon, poses as he stands atop a supply truck during a photo opportunity at the premises of a shopping mall in Bangalore, India, September 28, 2014. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa/File photo

Elon Musk’s reign as the world’s richest person was brief.

Tesla shares slid 2.4 per cent on Tuesday, erasing $4.6 billion from its chief executive’s fortune and knocking him from the top spot of Bloomberg's Billionaires Index ranking.

Jeff Bezos, who’d held the title for more than three years until last month, reclaimed his No. 1 position with a net worth of $191.2bn, or $955 million more than Mr Musk.

Mr Musk’s drop ends – for now – an almost six-week stint as the world’s richest person that saw him front and centre in some of the biggest market events so far this year. He fanned the flames of the Reddit-driven GameStop rally and sent the shares of Etsy, Shopify, CD Projekt and Signal Advance soaring with boosterish tweets.

Recently, he’s roiled the price of Bitcoin and even Dogecoin, a lesser-known cryptocurrency that Mr Musk spiked with a tweeted meme earlier this month. Bitcoin, meanwhile, blew past $50,000 days after Tesla revealed plans to hold $1.5bn of the cryptocurrency on its balance sheet. Despite Mr Musk’s seemingly constant social media presence, Tesla shares have slid almost 10 per cent from a January 26 peak.

It’s been an eventful stretch for Mr Bezos as well. He resumes the mantle of the world’s richest person as he’s about to cede a title of his own. Amazon announced this month that Mr Bezos will down step as chief executive of the e-commerce giant in the third quarter to focus on other projects.

Mr Bezos owns space exploration company Blue Origin, as well as the Washington Post and has accelerated his philanthropic giving in recent years. Amazon shares have climbed 53 per cent in the past 12 months.

It may not be long though before Mr Musk leapfrogs Mr Bezos once again.

Mr Musk’s SpaceX, a rival to Mr Bezos’s Blue Origin, has been in talks to raise funds that would significantly increase its valuation. SpaceX completed the $850m funding round last week at a $74bn valuation, about 60 per cent higher than its prior round, according to CNBC, which cited people familiar with the matter.

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