Elon Musk Is The First Person Worth More Than $300 Billion, But Hertz Uncertainty Threatens Tesla Stock Tear

After adding tens of billions to his net worth on Monday, Elon Musk has become the first person with more than $300 billion to his name. 

Musk is worth $306.8 billion as of Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time, Forbes estimates, after crossing the previously untouched $300 billion threshold on Monday as Tesla’s stock continued its tear. The electric car company’s market capitalization passed $1 trillion last week after Hertz announced it was buying 100,000 Tesla vehicles to add to its rental fleet—which would give Tesla $4.2 billion in cash, Bloomberg reported. Shares closed at a record $1,208 on Monday, giving Tesla a $1.2 trillion market cap. 

In a press release last week, Hertz claimed that rental Model 3s would start rolling out in major cities by early November. But Musk posted a tweet on Monday night that cast doubt on the mega-deal. “I’d like to emphasize that no contract has been signed yet … Hertz deal has zero effect on our economics,” he wrote. By Tuesday morning, Tesla’s record ascent had reversed, and shares were down as much as 4% at the market open. But by 10:30 a.m., the stock had begun rebounding: Shares traded at $1,200, down just 0.7% from Monday’s close. 

A spokesperson for Hertz maintains that the deal is on. “As we announced last week, Hertz has made an initial order of 100,000 Tesla electric vehicles and is investing in new EV charging infrastructure across the company’s global operations,” the century-old rental car company wrote in a statement shared with Forbes. “Deliveries of the Teslas already have started.”

The majority of Musk’s fortune is tied up in his 23% stake in Tesla, which he first backed in 2004, a year after it was founded. He also holds a significant share of his privately held rocket company SpaceX, which was valued at about $74 billion in a February 2021 funding round. 

The South African-born entrepreneur is the richest person in modern history, and he’s quickly leaving fellow billionaires in the dust. Jeff Bezos, the second-richest person in the world, is currently worth about $190.3 billion, Forbes estimates, down from a $212 billion peak in July. Bill Gates’ net worth briefly passed $100 billion in April 1999. Adjusted for inflation, that’s just over $165 billion today—some $142 billion less than Musk is worth now. Today, Gates is worth an estimated $137.8 billion.

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