THE CHANGING FORTUNES OF THE WORLD’S RICHEST
Gautam Adani lost $31 billion in one of the biggest weekly drops ever, while Elon Musk’s fortune rebounded by $28 billion.
By Gabriela Lopez Gomes
Itwas a wild week for the very richest in the world. U.S. stocks ticked up slightly in the past week – the S&P 500 index rose 2.5% and the Nasdaq ended up 4.3%, after the U.S. Commerce Department’s personal consumption expenditure index showed prices rising more slowly last month than they had been. Still two of the top ten richest people in the world had rather unusual weeks, posting one of the biggest gains and one of the biggest losses ever.
Indian billionaire Gautam Adani lost a stunning $31 billion, or 24% of his fortune, while Elon Musk gained nearly as much, thanks to a strong quarterly earnings report. We tracked the change in fortunes from the market close on Friday January 20 through the end of the day Friday January 27.
Here’s how some of the world’s richest people fared this week.
The net worth change is from close of markets Friday, January 27.
#1. Gautam Adani
Net Worth: $96.6 bil 🔴 Down $31.2 bil
Country: India | Source Of Wealth: Adani Group | View profile
Asia’s richest man, Adani is the biggest loser this week after bombshell headlines emerged late Tuesday evening following the release of a 100-page report by short seller Hindenburg Research alleging the “largest con in corporate history,” including claims of stock manipulation and accounting fraud.
Adani started the week as the world’s third richest person, worth $127.8 billion. His fortune fell by $6.5 billion on Wednesday. The Indian stock market was closed Thursday for a holiday. On Friday, the free fall continued, wiping $22.6 billion from his fortune in hours. Though that might seem like a record-breaking one-day collapse for a billionaire, it’s not; Elon Musk’s fortune fell by $24.5 billion a year ago, on Thursday, January 27, 2022.
Adani’s $31.2 billion drop this week dropped him four spots to seventh richest, with a net worth of $96.6 billion as of Friday’s market close. The Hindenburg Research report alleges that the Adani family used dozens of shell companies for stock manipulation and money laundering purposes. Adani Group Chief Financial Officer Jugeshinder Singh dismissed the Hindenburg report, calling it “selective misinformation” in a statement shared with Forbes.
In February last year, Adani overtook fellow Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani to become the richest person in Asia and No. 10 richest in the world, worth just over $90 billion. He zoomed past Warren Buffett later that month to become world’s fifth-wealthiest and moved ahead of Bill Gates in July after the Microsoft cofounder Gates gave $20 billion to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Then in September, Adani briefly became the world’s second-richest person, worth $155 billion, overtaking Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and then-number two Arnault in the same week. He soon dropped back to world’s third richest, still ahead of Bezos, where he remained until this week.
#2. Elon Musk
Net Worth: $181.3 bil 🟢 Up $28.3 bil
Country: United States | Source Of Wealth: Tesla | View profile
As bad as Adani’s week was, Musk’s swung the opposite way. Tesla and Twitter CEO Musk was the biggest winner as Tesla’s stock jumped 33% following a very strong quarterly earnings report released on Wednesday, lifting his fortune by $28.3 billion. Tesla, whose stock has fallen by more than two-thirds in the past year, much of it since Musk announced plans to buy Twitter last April, surprised many by reporting record sales and profits. Investors cheered the news, sending the stock up 11% on Friday and 33% this week. “Long term, I am convinced that Tesla will be the most valuable company on earth,” said Musk on Wednesday’s earnings call. Musk remains the world’s second richest person, behind No. 1 French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault.
#3. Tobias Lütke
Net Worth: $4.7 bil 🟢 Up $800 mil
Country: Canada | Source Of Wealth: Shopify | View profile
After a year of tech layoffs and sinking stock prices, Shopify’s share price rose nearly 24% in the past week, boosting CEO Tobias Lutke’s fortune by $800 million to $4.7 billion. The 42-year-old owns about 6% of the Canadian multinational, which enables small businesses to create online stores.
The price surge came after Shopify announced a 33% hike to subscription fees on Wednesday, with its basic plan going from $29 to $39 and the advanced plan jumping from $299 to $399 a month. The change will become effective for current users in the next three months.
Technology analyst Richard Tse of National Bank Financial Markets, says the price increase “appears to be a bigger move” by Shopify to increase the acceleration to profitability and have competitive pricing power. (Shopify, which went public in 2015, has yet to post a profit.)
#4. David Vélez
Net Worth: $4.3 bil 🟢 Up $400 mil
Country: Brazil | Source Of Wealth: Nubank | View profile
Vélez, cofounder and CEO of Brazilian online bank Nubank, is up $400 million for the week as U.S. listed stock in NU Holdings increased nearly 15% this week.
The stock rose due to the current interest rate stability in Brazil, says fintech analyst James Friedman of Susquehanna International Group. “Nubank’s stock suffered when interest rates went up last year, and now it’s starting to stabilize because there’s a perception that they are unlikely to rise more,” he says.
Nubank on Thursday announced a $150 million loan from the International Finance Corporation to strengthen its presence in Colombia, the fintech’s third largest market after Brazil and Mexico. The digital lender currently has around 65 million Brazilian customers. “There are good reasons to believe Nubank is the future of banking in Latin America,” says Friedman.