Elon Musk is the world’s richest person again thanks to his new AI startup

Billionaires

Elon Musk had a Memorial Day Weekend to remember, announcing over the holiday that his new artificial intelligence startup xAI had raised $6 billion at an $18 billion pre-money valuation. That’s enough to push Musk past French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault—yet again—for the title of the world’s richest person.
Elon Musk

Elon Musk

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Forbes estimates Elon Musk’s net worth to be $209.5 billion as of Tuesday’s market close, $5.2 billion more than Arnault, who is worth an estimated $204.3 billion. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos fell to a close third–with a fortune estimated at $200 billion–after trading the number two spot with Musk in recent months.

Musk launched xAI–best known for its Grok chatbot–last July to compete with the likes of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, which Musk also cofounded in 2015 before leaving the company three years later. Musk, who has accused ChatGPT of being “woke,” sued OpenAI in March, alleging that its pursuit of profits has undermined its original mission of developing open-source artificial general intelligence that will “benefit humanity.” In the Sunday press release announcing its recent fundraise, xAI touted the release of an open-source version of Grok among its accomplishments to date. In a tweet the following day, Musk invited engineers to “Join xAI if you believe in our mission of understanding the universe, which requires maximally rigorous pursuit of the truth, without regard to popularity or political correctness.”

Forbes estimates that Musk owns a 60% stake in xAI worth $14.4 billion after the recent deal, which was led by a group of investors that also backed his $44 billion (enterprise value) takeover of Twitter (which Musk has since renamed X): Valor Equity Partners, Vy Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Fidelity Management & Research Company, and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Company.

The rest of Musk’s fortune is largely tied up in his nearly 12% Tesla stake (excluding options) and estimated 42% SpaceX stake–each worth around $75 billion at Tuesday’s market close. Meanwhile, Forbes estimates that the value of Musk’s 74% stake in his social media company is now worth roughly $7 billion– or nearly 70% less than he paid for it in 2022.

Tesla’s seesawing stock and soaring SpaceX shares have moved Musk into, and out of, the planet’s No. 1 spot in recent years. Arnault most recently overtook Musk in late January, when a Delaware judge voided nearly $50 billion of performance based Tesla stock options originally granted to Musk in 2018, after ruling that Musk and certain Tesla board members failed to prove that the process underlying the award was fair.

Tesla shareholders are set to vote on the reapproval of Musk’s options–which Forbes discounted by 50% following the Delaware ruling–on June 13.

Meanwhile, SpaceX is reportedly looking to do a tender offer that would value the company at around $200 billion—up from $180 billion last December. So in other words, Arnault’s days at the top may have already been numbered.

This article was originally published on forbes.com and all figures are in USD.

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