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Arnault, the chairman of luxury conglomerate LVMH, first snagged Musk’s throne atop the Forbes’ billionaires list on Friday. But Musk’s riches rallied on Monday, and the Tesla CEO — whose electric car company has lost billions in market value this year — gained back $5 billion in wealth, unseating Arnault as No. 1.
Then it flipped. Then it flipped again.
It’s not the first time Musk and Arnault have danced the billionaire bachata. Arnault overtook Musk as the world’s wealthiest person in December 2022, before the SpaceX founder once again unseated him. The French business mogul has seen his net worth remain relatively stable while other tech moguls such as Musk, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg have watched their wealth zig-zag under high interest rates and the tech industry’s instability.
Arnault had dethroned Musk as recently as three days ago. It’s not clear whether Monday represented a record for the number of billionaire rankings lead changes.
The lead changed as often as it did on the Forbes list because Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires List is a quick-response version of its famous ranking of the world’s richest people that updates every five minutes. Since both Musk and Arnault are wealthy because of holdings of their respective publicly traded companies, their fortunes rise and dip with market fluctuations. Elon Musk’s Tesla is having a rough go of things lately, which has left its stock sagging. LVMH, on the other hand, had a pleasant earnings day recently, and its shares have risen modestly so far this year.
Bloomberg, where Musk was the world’s richest person all day, has a different methodology for calculating wealth than Forbes. In fact, Bloomberg has Arnault as the third-richest person in the world behind Musk and Bezos.
Billionaires sometimes dispute the net worths as listed in the rankings.
Back in 2013, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud got into a spat with Forbes because it had him worth $20 billion instead of a Bloomberg-estimated $28 billion.
Monday was not as wild a ride for either Tesla stock, up a humble 4%, or for LVMH, which rose a little less than 1%.