Elon Musk has broken another Guinness world record, though it's not a desirable one, not by a long shot. After emerging as the world's richest person in September 2021, the billionaire entrepreneur has become the first person in recorded history to lose $200 billion in wealth after shares of Tesla dropped 65 percent in 2022.
The CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter is now worth $137 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, down from $340 billion in November 2021. Back then, he was the world's richest person; now, he's "only" second in that ranking behind the founder of luxury goods conglomerate LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy), Bernard Arnault, who has an estimated net worth of $190 billion.
The massive wealth lost by Musk propelled him into the Guinness World Records for the "largest loss of personal fortune." While the size of the fortune Musk lost since November 2021 is almost impossible to ascertain – Forbes estimates it at $182 billion – his total losses far surpass the previous record of $58.6 billion, set by Japanese tech investor Masayoshi Son in 2000.
Son's net worth declined from a peak of $78 billion in February 2000 to $19.4 billion in July of the same year as the value of his tech conglomerate, Softbank, was wiped out by the dot-com crash. The situation at Softbank was so volatile at the time that Son's net worth sometimes shifted by as much as $5 billion in a day.
Eventually, Softbank went from strength to strength in the following years, acquiring several US and British tech companies, which saw Masayoshi Son's wealth recover. The same could happen to Elon Musk as he continues to build his own tech conglomerate, Guinness World Records notes.
Despite the massive share price decline, Tesla remains the world's most valuable car company, with a market valuation of $375 billion as of January 9, 2023. Tesla's market cap is about $150 billion bigger than Toyota's, the second biggest automaker in terms of market valuation.
Elon Musk remains confident that Tesla remains well-positioned for the future, despite the market's unpredictability in recent months. "Long-term fundamentals are extremely strong. Short-term market madness is unpredictable," he tweeted on December 30, 2022.