THE CHANGING FORTUNES OF THE WORLD’S RICHEST
s Tesla CEO Elon Musk prepares to announce the company’s newest innovations at a September 22 event called “Battery Day,” investors once again drove up the share price of the electric car maker, adding $13 billion to Musk’s net worth over the past week.
Tesla’s stock rose 19% between the market close on Friday, September 11 and Friday, September 18, recovering from the sharp 21% plunge in the stock on September 8, when it was unexpectedly passed over for inclusion in the S&P 500 index.
On September 11, Musk tweeted that “many exciting things” will be announced at the Battery Day event. Analysts are speculating as to what the announcements may be. Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas said in a note that revelations like a “million-mile” battery or a big jump in battery production capability could be “narrative changing” for the company. Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said in a Thursday note that Tesla could bring its cost of production below a threshold of $100 per kilowatt-hour, which would enable the company to be more profitable.
Beyond a potential jump in battery manufacturing, Ives pointed to stronger sales numbers in China as an area of growth for the automaker, estimating that Chinese consumers could represent 40% of Tesla’s market by the beginning of 2022. Tesla’s stock continued to climb on Friday, ending the day up more than 4%.
Musk is not the only electric automaker making gains. Wang Chuanfu, cofounder of China’s largest electric vehicle maker, BYD, got $2.3 billion richer this week as the company’s stock jumped 35%. BYD has been on a tear for the past year, more than doubling in value after it debuted a cheaper, cobalt-free battery in January, introduced its first sedan in July and secured a contract in August to provide the state of California’s transit system with electric busses.
Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison also got a boost this week, adding $4 billion to his net worth after it was announced his company would, pending U.S. approval, obtain a minority stake in controversial social media app TikTok, which is owned by China-based ByteDance. Republican U.S. Senators including Marco Rubio and John Cornyn wrote a letter to President Donald Trump opposing the deal, concerned about the fact that ByteDance would still hold a majority stake in the company. While the Trump administration weighs its decision on Oracle’s deal, it announced that TikTok and Chinese chat app WeChat will be banned from U.S. app stores beginning Sunday, September 20.
Another company that had a big week was Japanese investment giant SoftBank, which announced on Sunday, September 13 that it would sell British microchip maker Arm to competitor Nvidia for $40 billion. Investors praised the move, helping drive SoftBank CEO and founder Masayoshi Son’s net worth up $3.4 billion between September 11 and September 18. Jensen Huang, CEO and cofounder of Nvidia, experienced no change in his net worth. However, after a gangbuster year for Huang’s company as it expanded from gaming into the data center business, he is worth nearly three times what he was a year ago.