Tesla (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report CEO Elon Musk became the world's richest person on Thursday, surpassing Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report CEO Jeff Bezos for the crown, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire's Index, which ranks the world's 500 wealthiest people.
Bezos had held the title since Oct. 2017, but with Thursday's 7% jump in Tesla shares, Musk, who owns 20% of Tesla, vaulted ahead of Bezos. According to Bloomberg, Musk first took over Bezos in the morning when Tesla shares were up close to 5%, bringing Musk's net worth at the time to $188.5 billion, $1.5 billion more than Bezos' at the same time.
As of Wednesday's market close, the two were neck and neck, with Bezos at $184 billion and Musk at $181 billion. Over the past year, Musk’s net worth has grown by more than $150 billion, according to Bloomberg, as Tesla shares vaulted an astonishing 743% last year.
Bezos would still be in the lead over Musk if it hadn’t been for his divorce from wife Mackenzie in 2019. As part of that settlement, Bezos gave about a 4% ownership stake in Amazon to her; he also donated shares worth about $680 billion in November.
Following reports that he had claimed the title, Musk tweeted a nonchalant response on Thursday morning:
According to a tweet from Oct. 2018 that he's pinned to the top of his feed, Musk plans to use most of his money to help solve urgent problems on Earth, as well as help establish a settlement on Mars.
“About half my money is intended to help problems on Earth & half to help establish a self-sustaining city on Mars to ensure continuation of life (of all species) in case Earth gets hit by a meteor like the dinosaurs or WW3 happens & we destroy ourselves," Musk writes.
On Thursday, Tesla was benefiting from a bullish note from analysts at RBC Capital who turned positive on the company and admitted that they "got it completely wrong" on prior calls for the electric vehicle maker's stock.
RBC analyst Joseph Spak, a long time Tesla bear and one of Wall Street's last holdouts on its stock despite last year's surge, nearly doubled his price target for the stock to $700 a share, while boosting his near-term forecast for deliveries following last year's record tally of 499,550 units.
Spak said Tesla's share price gains can allow it to "easily" raise capital for future growth, "whereas traditional OEMs need to generate significant cash from existing operations to fund their transition to electrification.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas pinned an $810 price target on Tesla, a Wall Street high, while calling the car company the "chosen one" thanks to its "people, its technology, business model and access to capital."
Nelson Wang contributed to this article.