Elon Musk is the chief executive of Tesla, the world’s most valuable carmaker. The Austin, Texas-based company sells electric vehicles and home solar batteries. Musk’s also the chief executive of SpaceX, a rocket manufacturer tapped by NASA to resupply the space station, and owns social networking company Twitter.
Musk is CEO of publicly traded Tesla, the world’s most valuable carmaker, and closely held rocket business SpaceX, which counts the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration as a client.
Musk owns about 13% of Tesla, according to an April 2023 regulatory filing. He also holds about 304 million exercisable stock options from his 2018 compensation package.
SpaceX is valued using a July 2023 share sale that valued the company at about $150 billion. Musk owns about 42% of the closely held company through a trust based on a December 2022 filing with the Federal Communications Commission and Bloomberg’s dilution calculations. The value is reduced by 15% to account for typical discounts that shares in unicorns attract on the secondary market.
In April 2022 Musk offered to buy Twitter Inc for $44 billion. The deal closed in October 2022. He’s calculated to own about 79% of the company’s stock based on external investors disclosed in May 2022. Its value has been adjusted based on the price disclosed by investor Fidelity Blue Chip Growth Fund in their April 2023 filing, valuing the shares at 33% of their purchase price. In March 2023, Twitter offered employees stock grants that valued the company at roughly $20 billion, according to a report.
Musk had pledged 58% of his Tesla shares as collateral to secure personal indebtedness, according to the company’s 2023 proxy statement. The maximum loan allowable under this arrangement could be no more than the lesser of 25% of the value of those shares or $3.5 billion, according to the filing, and a $3.5 billion loan is included in his calculation. Musk said in 2019 that some of his SpaceX shares were also pledged, without providing further details. A liability is included to reflect calculated pledges of SpaceX shares and other debt related to the difference between cash Musk is calculated to have required to purchase Twitter and the cash available to him at the time.
Education: University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Born in South Africa to an engineer father and nutritionist mother, Musk left home as a 17-year-old for college in Canada, in part to avoid serving in the apartheid-era South African army. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with degrees in physics and economics, he enrolled at Stanford University. He dropped out after his first few days to pursue his three main areas of interest: the Internet, clean energy and space.
He created an online publishing platform called Zip2 in 1995 and sold it four years later for more than $300 million. He reinvested some of the proceeds to start X.com, an online payment system. He would merge that with what eventually became PayPal, the e-commerce site that was ultimately sold to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002.
His next project: SpaceX, a closely held rocket company that was tapped by NASA to take over space shuttle’s role of resupplying the International Space Station. A year later, he co-founded Tesla, the company that produced the world’s first all-electric, zero-emission sports car in 2010. In the same year the company sold shares in a public offering.
His third company, SolarCity, was a provider of solar power systems. SolarCity sold shares in a public offering in 2012 and was bought by Tesla on Nov. 21, 2016.
Musk, who has said he intends to retire on planet Mars, joined Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge in April 2012.
Tesla became the world’s most valuable carmaker in July 2020 and further gains led to Musk becoming the world’s richest person in January 2021. He announced in October 2021 that Tesla would move its headquarters from Palo Alto, California to Austin, Texas.
In April 2022 Musk made an offer to buy Twitter Inc for $44 billion after acquiring a stake in the social-media firm. After its board agreed to recommend the deal, Musk spent months trying to terminate it. Musk eventually purchased Twitter in October 2022.
- 1971 Elon Musk is born in Pretoria, South Africa.
- 1981 Buys first computer at age 10.
- 1983 Creates and sells his first commercial software game, Blastar.
- 1999 Develops an online payment system called X.com.
- 2000 Merges X.com with PayPal’s parent company, Cofinity.
- 2002 PayPal acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion.
- 2002 Establishes SpaceX in a former airplane hangar near LAX.
- 2003 Begins designing the all-electric Tesla Roadster.
- 2008 SpaceX delivers its first satellite into space.
- 2010 Tesla Motors begins trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange.
- 2022 Purchases social-media company Twitter Inc for $44 billion.