Elon Musk is not only the richest person on the planet, but is also one of the most famous.
Before buying Twitter - one of the world’s biggest social media platforms - the billionaire was best known for being the boss of electric car company Tesla. But his personal life and often controversial opinions have also given him a degree of celebrity and notoriety.
His views on freedom of expression, the war in Ukraine and Covid-19 have all proven to be highly divisive and have led to questions about the direction he will take Twitter in, now his $44 billion buyout has been completed.
So, how rich is Elon Musk - and what companies does he own? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is Elon Musk’s net worth?
According to Forbes (28 October), Elon Musk has a net worth estimated to be $223.8 billion (£192.7 billion). While this figure is a huge amount and means Mr Musk is worth more than around 150 nations and territories around the world, not much of it is in the form of cash or physical assets.
Indeed, after amassing $100 million (£86.3 million) in residential property in California, Musk vowed to give it all up. In an interview in April 2022, he revealed he sofa surfs and suggested one of his only assets was a private jet.
Most of his net worth is derived from his stake in Tesla (believed to be upto a fifth of the company), which goes up and down depending on the markets. Musk’s net worth also depends on whether Tesla achieves certain targets - goals that translate into the awarding of more stock to Musk.
How did Elon Musk make his money?
Elon Musk was born into a wealthy family in Apartheid South Africa in June 1971. Reportedly brilliant with computers from a young age, Musk moved to the Canada and then the US in the early 1990s to study.
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a physics and business degree - and briefly working on a physics PhD at Stanford, California - Musk went into business with his younger brother Kimbal.
The pair founded Zip2, an online business directory, in 1995 as the dot-com bubble was starting to take off. Just before the bubble peaked in 1999, the brothers sold the company for $307 million, with Musk making $22 million out of the deal.
He used half of this money to cofound online banking service X.com, which then merged with PayPal in 2000. eBay snapped the company up in 2002, which netted Musk $180 million.
Once again, this money found its way into more investments that would prove - over the long-run - to be highly lucrative for Mr Musk. In 2002, he founded SpaceX and in 2003 he bought Tesla.
While both companies initially struggled, they now account for almost his entire wealth.
What companies does Elon Musk own?
These are the companies that Elon Musk currently owns or holds a significant stake in:
Bought for $44 billion in October 2022, Elon Musk’s Twitter buyout was an acrimonious affair. The deal was on-off for several months before Musk completed it, as the entrepreneur claimed the social media giant was lying about how many spam accounts were on its platform. Twitter even launched legal proceedings against the billionaire.
As a self-described ‘free speech absolutist’, Mr Musk is expected to reverse bans on controversial public figures who have been banned by the platform for hate speech and/or other breeches of its rules.
However, he has said he will not immediately relax Twitter’s existing policies and will set up a ‘moderation council’ that will assess the limits of free speech. The move appears to have been an attempt to quell fears from advertisers that their marketing could appear next to hate speech or other controversial content.
Worth around $700 billion (£604 billion), Tesla is one of the world’s biggest companies. Specialising in electric vehicles and batteries, it beat most of the other major car manufacturers to the electric vehicles market.
The business has been on a huge growth journey in the 10 years since its first mass-produced model rolled off the production line. This success has come despite it taking almost 9 years to produce a car after Elon Musk’s initial investment in 2003.
Tesla now has 17 gigantic facilities in the US, China, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands and sells around a million vehicles a year. It also owns SolarCity - a major solar panel producer it bought out in 2016.
However, questions have repeatedly been raised about working conditions at the manufacturer, which employs around 100,000 people. Musk has insisted he cares about his staff’s health and wellbeing.
Elon Musk is CEO and owns approximately a fifth of the publicly listed company. He is awarded share options when the company achieves certain targets, which boosts his considerable net worth.
SpaceX is a $100 billion (£86.3 million) space exploration and infrastructure firm that Musk owns around 48% of. It has become a key partner in NASA missions over the last 15 years, with the US space agency relying on it for its rockets.
Part of the reason for its success is that its reusable rockets significantly cut the cost of space travel. It has also pioneered low-cost satellite production, with its Starlink system providing communications around the world.
Musk is SpaceX’s CEO, chief technology officer and significant shareholder. He owns roughly 47% of the company.
- The Boring Company
Despite having a name that sounds like an Elon Musk joke, this firm does what it says on the tin - i.e. it digs big holes. Founded in 2016 to solve traffic congestion, the firm constructs tunnels.
It completed its first public infrastructure project in the US in June 2021 and is worth an estimated $5.7 billion (£4.9 billion). The business was initially part of SpaceX but was separated from it in 2018, with CEO Musk controlling a 90% stake and the rest held by SpaceX.
Set up in 2016 by Elon Musk and several other investors, Neuralink is a company that strives to cure neurological conditions, like Alzheimer’s or spinal cord injuries, by fusing their bodies with artificial intelligence. It does so by implanting wireless chips into the person’s brain.
Human trials initially began in 2022, with Mr Musk announcing a show and tell event would take place on Halloween - although this has now been pushed back to 30 November. No details about what this event will demonstrate have yet been released.
Neuralink got headlines for unexpected reasons in July 2022, when it emerged Elon Musk had secretly fathered twins with one of its executives Shivon Zilis. It raised questions about how ethical a workplace it is given Mr Musk is the firm’s CEO and therefore, Ms Zilis’s boss.
There is no current estimate for how much the company is worth. But it is believed to have a value of several hundred million dollars.