November 19, 2020 10:54:15 am
Elon Musk is just a Tesla Inc. rally away from unseating fellow mega-billionaire — and occasional verbal sparring partner — Bill Gates as the second-richest person on the planet.
Musk’s net worth soared another $10.2 billion on Wednesday after Tesla shares climbed 10% on the strength of an overweight rating by Morgan Stanley. Analyst Adam Jonas predicted in a note that the company was on the brink of transitioning from being mainly a car-retailing business to one with multiple revenue streams from products like software and services.
The move propelled Musk’s net worth to $120 billion, $8 billion shy of Gates on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people. It’s the second day of banner gains for Musk. His fortune rose $7.6 billion on Tuesday after the electric-car maker was named for inclusion in the S&P 500 Index. Tesla’s meteoric rise this year has boosted Musk’s net worth by $92.4 billion since January, the most of anyone on the Bloomberg index.
It also narrows the gap between two visionary tech billionaires who’ve traded barbs this year in sometimes heated exchanges on Twitter or through interviews. The confrontational Musk, who once said his conversations with the Microsoft Corp. co-founder were “underwhelming,” tweeted in September that Gates had “no clue” about electric trucks, responding to a blog post Gates authored in which he suggested electricity probably wouldn’t be a practical solution for powering heavy, long-haul vehicles.
But it’s the pandemic that’s sparked the sharpest words between the two. Musk, 49, has frequently downplayed the risks of Covid-19, questioned data about its spread and fatality and made wildly optimistic projections about the course of the disease.
Gates, 65, whose charitable foundation is largely dedicated to public health, dismissed Musk’s comments. “I hope that he doesn’t confuse areas he’s not involved in too much,” he told CNBC.
Musk may now find himself with firsthand knowledge. Last week the billionaire tweeted that he may have Covid.
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