It’s been a busy year for Elon Musk, and his net worth is taking a hit.
After purchasing Twitter for $44 billion on Thursday—the largest leveraged buyout of a technology company in history—Musk’s net worth has fallen by $9 billion, according to calculations by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His net worth now stands at $203 billion, down roughly 25% since the beginning of the year.
Even so, Musk remains the world’s richest person, beating out runner-up Bernard Arnault by around $65 billion.
The new owner of Twitter said in a statement on the day the deal closed that he “didn’t do it to make more money” but rather to “try to help humanity.” As part of the deal, Musk was personally responsible for paying roughly $25 billion, while venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz chipped in about $7.1 billion in cash. Additional investors picked up the remaining amount.
But Musk now faces a number of financial challenges in owning Twitter, a company that failed to turn an annual profit in three of the last five years and took on $13 billion in debt as part of the blockbuster deal. Digital advertising—which makes up 90% of Twitter’s revenue—has been falling across the industry. To make up for expected losses, Musk said the platform is considering charging users $20 to maintain the coveted blue check mark of verification on their account.
“We need to pay the bills somehow!” Musk tweeted in an exchange with author Stephen King, who lamented the idea. “Twitter cannot rely entirely on advertisers. How about $8?”
Analysts say Musk could also order job cuts across the company to slash costs. Twitter spends around $1.2 billion in annual sales and marketing expenses, a large portion of which goes to employee salaries and benefits.
Despite the financial troubles at Twitter, Musk could theoretically help cover the company’s extra cash needs on his own. He went forward with the deal last week after months of lawsuits, verbal mudslinging, and almost a full-blown trial.
A self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist,” Musk has suggested that he would loosen standards for the policing of harmful content such as misinformation and hate speech once he takes over Twitter. He has also voiced support for restoring access to former President Donald Trump, whose account was permanently suspended last year after the deadly Jan. 6 attempted insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Other investors who retained a stake in the company, like Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, also saw net worth declines. Dorsey lost $380 million and Prince Alwaleed lost $640 million, according to Bloomberg’s index.
Musk’s net worth peaked at $340 billion last November when shares of Tesla, his electric vehicle company, soared due to strong revenue. Tesla shares have fallen by 43% this year as production and delivery numbers came up short of expectations. Musk also sold nearly $15.5 billion in Tesla stock to finance the Twitter deal, a move that worried investors.
Musk also owns SpaceX and holds senior roles at Neuralink and The Boring Company. The decline in Musk’s net worth continues a trend among top executives this year, as 10 out of the 11 wealthiest people in the world have seen their net worth drop since Jan. 1, according to Bloomberg’s wealth index. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is facing the biggest decline in net worth, down $89.4 billion, as his company’s stock plummets amid weak earnings. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has lost $66.8 billion, while the net worth of Alphabet co-founder Larry Page is down $40.6 billion.
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