Following months of legal wrangling between Twitter and Elon Musk the 51-year-old has finally closed his $44 billion deal to purchase the social media platform and take over as of Thursday night. “The bird is freed,” Musk tweeted following the move that has already seen major changes to Twitter including the sacking of the business’ chief executive Parag Agrawal, chief financial officer Ned Segal and general counsels Sean Edgett and Vijaya Gadde.
Declared the world’s richest man in 2022, his business success has seen him compared to famous tycoons like Howard Hughes, Steve Jobs and Henry Ford - but just who is Elon Musk and how did he become so rich? Here's what you should know about the entrepreneur who scaled to the top of the business world.
Who is Elon Musk?
Elon Reeve Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1971, the oldest of three kids; his mother was a Canadian model and nutritionist while his father was a South African engineer. Following the pair’s divorce in 1980, Musk largely lived with his father but the two had a poor relationship and he later described him as “a terrible human being… almost every evil thing you could possibly think of, he has done.”
Musk spent some time in Canada before moving to the U.S. where he studied physics at the University of Pennsylvania and kicked off his career as a tech entrepreneur with early successes in companies like Zip2 and X.com which merged with a company that later became PayPal.
How much money does Elon Musk have?
Elon Musk’s net worth is $221.5 billion according to Forbes’ profile of him which tracks his wealth in real time. This makes him the world’s richest person as he surpasses Bernard Arnault (& family) and Jeff Bezos who own $159.5 billion and $134.4 billion respectively.
How is Elon Musk so rich?
Forbes described Elon Musk’s “source of wealth” as: Tesla, SpaceX and “Self Made”. However, Musk is a large stakeholder in other companies including Neuralink, the Boring Company (a tunnelling startup) and Twitter. Reportedly Tesla alone brought in $31.5 billion in revenue after 2020 following its first full-year profit and while Musk owns 25% of the company’s stock and options he has pledged half of that as collateral for loans.
SpaceX, his private space company founded in 2002, is now worth $127 billion following May, 2022, meaning it quadrupled in value over three years. Other projects like Boring Company which is intended to beat traffic raised $675 million this year and saw a $5.7 billion valuation.
Why did Elon Musk buy twitter?
Elon Musk announced his purchase of Twitter with a video of himself walking into the platform’s headquarters ahead of his takeover showing himself carrying a sink. “Entering Twitter HQ - let that sink in!” Musk said.
In his words: “The reason I acquired Twitter is because it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.
“There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left wing echo chambers that generate more hate and divide our society.”
The Tesla CEO has expressed many times in the past that he supports freedom of speech and that it must be consistent with the law. Reports indicate that Musk also intends to remove bots or spam accounts from the platform, in a TED talk he said that crypto bots, for example, can scam investors online and it is a ‘top priority’ for him to remove them.
Bots can be used to imitate people which also poses a concern for their use in propaganda or misinformation as fake accounts could proliferate biased opinions or data.
Who is Elon Musk married to?
According to the Business Insider, Elon Musk has been divorced three times, dated multiple celebrities and has nine children - however, one child requested to cut ties with him. His first wife was Justine Wilson, a Canadian author, and the two got married in 2000 and divorced as of 2008.
Musk’s second wife, Talulah Jane Riley-Milburn, is an English actress and writer who married him back in 2010 but their relationship was very on-off as the pair divorced in 2012 only to re-marry back in 2013 and divorce once more in 2016.
Cosmopolitan reports that Elon Musk is currently in a relationship with Natasha Basset, an Australian actress, and the two have been together for years with similar ‘on and off’ circumstances.