How Elon Musk compares with Jeff Bezos with £134m mansion, £3m cars & space stations, as he becomes world’s richest man
THEY are the two richest men in the world, with a simmering rivalry that goes back 20 years.
Now Elon Musk has finally overtaken Jeff Bezos in the wealth stakes, topping the rich list with a fortune of £136billion ($185billion).
The Tesla boss has narrowly edged ahead of the Amazon CEO – whose current net worth is £135billion ($184billion) according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index.
The pair have clashed over more than their respective bank accounts in the past – sparring over their ambitious space projects and other business interests. Musk has berated Bezos, 56, for running what he considers a monopoly and has called him a copycat for attempting to develop a self-driving car.
Musk – who has five children with first wife Justine and one with current girlfriend Grimes – shuns real estate and invests all his money in his space race.
On the other hand dad-of-four Bezos – who gave ex-wife MacKenzie Scott £28billion in their 2019 divorce- owns property worth over £300million.
As 49-year-old Musk finally overtakes his bitter rival, we look inside the wealth of the richest CEOs in the world.
Start up and upstarts
Musk a Millionaire at 29
Elon Musk was just 24 when he founded tech company Zip2 with his brother Kimbal, in 1995.
He claimed they were so poor they couldn’t afford an apartment, sleeping in the office and showering at the local YMCA, and had to work on coding for other companies at night to make ends meet.
But four year later, they sold the company for £220million ($300million.)
At the same time, Musk was building PayPal, which was later sold to eBay for £1.1billion ($1.5billion) in 2001.
Musk took over as product engineer and CEO of car firm Tesla in 2008.
Slow start for Amazon
While Musk was enjoying his first millions, Jeff Bezos was struggling to grow Amazon to the runaway success it is today.
Founded in 1993 as an online bookstore, he diversified into music and DVDs five years later and in 2000 he borrowed £1.5billion ($2billion) from the bank to expand further.
But in 2002, the company hit the rocks and he was forced to close warehouses and lay off 14 percent of his staff to keep from going under.
A year later, the company bounced back with a £300million profit. Expansion continued to build the CEO’s fortunes, seeing him net a personal profit of £500m ($671million) with the sale of a million shares in May 2016.
Last year, Amazon’s value passed the $trillion (£750m) mark for the first time. Bezos continues to hold an 11 per cent stake.
Bezos beats Musk to launch
Although Musk is seen as the more space age of the two, Bezos was first to launch his own rocket manufacturer, Blue Origin, in 2000.
His future vision is to enable millions of people to live and work in space, and commute via accessible and affordable shuttles.
His rocket, New Shepherd, has successfully orbited the Earth and returned on two occasions, although never with human passengers.
When he does begin to take space tourists, he estimates the ticket price will be between £150,000 ($200,000) and £220,000 ($300,000) per passenger.
Space chat starts rift
Musk’s space ambitions revolve around a settlement on Mars, conceived by the billionaire in 2001, starting with an experimental greenhouse containing food crops.
After selling PayPal, Musk used his personal windfall of £118million ($160million) to start his space exploration company SpaceX in 2002.
Based in Texas, the space entrepreneur has launched one of his Falcon rockets 107 times, with 105 full mission successes, one partial failure and one total loss of spacecraft – when it exploded on the launch pad in December.
SpaceX launched its first manned flight, Demo-2, in May last year, with NASA Space Shuttle veterans Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken on board.
The success of the mission meant SpaceX became the first private company to place a person into orbit and also to dock a crewed craft at the International Space Station.
Musk has estimated future passenger tickets at £370,000 ($500,000).
The space race has been a bone of contention between the two billionaire’s since a dinner in 2004 caused a rift.
Musk later said:"I actually did my best to give good advice, which he largely ignored.”
The rivalry has often played out on social media, with both exchanging jibes.
After SpaceX launched a rocket into space and brought the booster back to Earth, Bezos tweeted, “Welcome to the club!”
And when Bezos tweeted a video of a “rare” reused rocket from Blue Origin, Musk pointed out that the SpaceXGrasshopper had already completed six suborbital flights.
£75 million sales and ‘no property’
As wealth and fame grew for Elon Musk, he spent a good chunk of his fortune buying up real estate – including SIX adjacent mansions in Bel Air.
He later explained the spending spree was largely down to security.
“I started having some privacy issues where people would just come to my house and you know, start climbing over the walls and stuff,” he told Joe Rogan on his podcast.
“I sort of bought a house and some of the houses around my house.”
The Tesla boss spent an estimated £75million ($100million) on the six houses and a mansion in Texas, near the SpaceX headquarters.
But last year, he put them all up for sale – saying he no longer wanted to be shackled by possessions.
He told his Twitter followers: “I am selling almost all physical possessions. Will own no house.”
He sold his first mansion in June, for £22million ($29million) and in the new year he sold three of his adjacent LA homes for a total of £30million ($40million).
They included a 9,309-square-foot, six-bed, seven-bath mansion that sold for £22million ($29million), a 3,943-square-foot mansion and two 1960s homes with four beds and five bathrooms.
When listing a fifth mansion for sale, which once belonged to Gene Wilder, he added a condition that it could “not be torn down or lose any [of] its soul.”
Happily, Wilder’s nephew, filmmaker Jordan Walker-Pearlman, paid £5million ($7million) to reclaim it for the family.
Asked if he planned to build his ideal home, Elon replied: “Does it really make sense for me to spend time designing and building a house? Or should I be allocating that time to getting us to Mars? I should probably do the latter.”
£134million mansion and £80m Manhattan penthouse
Unlike Musk, Bezos revels in buying up expensive homes, with eye-watering real estate buys in New York, Washington, Texas and Los Angeles.
His base is in Washington DC, where he bought a converted textile museum in 2016 for £18.6million ($25million).
He also owns the property next door, which is linked by a covered driveway.
The two buildings on the property have nearly 27,000 square feet of living space, making the complex the largest home in Washington, DC.
Bezos spent £10million ($14million) overhauling the houses and the grounds.
And last year he also bought the house opposite for £4million ($5.4million) – for “privacy” reasons.
In June 2019, Bezos reportedly splashed out £65million ($88million) on three Fifth Avenue apartments, over three adjacent floors, in New York.
The following April, he added a fourth floor, for a further £13million ($17.6million).
Comprising the Penthouse flat and three floors below, the city dwelling boasts 15 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms lined with Italian marble, and huge expanses of open plan living areas.
The building comes with a cinema room, games room, fully equipped gym and a golf simulator as well as a 24-hour concierge service.
Last year also saw the Amazon boss pay £134million (£165m) for the most expensive house in Los Angeles, previously owned by David Geffen.
The deal, brokered on Geffen’s yacht The Rising Sun, was the biggest real estate in California’s history, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Georgian-style home has eight bedrooms and nine bathrooms and includes a floor that was once owned by Napoleon.
Spread over eight acres, it has a 13,600-square-foot mansion, two guesthouses, a pool, a nine-hole golf course and a tennis court.
It's not his first home in the neighbourhood. In 2007, he spent £20million on a Spanish-style mansion with seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms in one of the most exclusive roads in the area.
Ten years later he bought the four-bedroom, 4,568-square-foot home next door for £10.4million.
He also owns a 300,000-acre ranch, in Van Horn, Texas, which boasts a huge mansion and a bunkhouse, which sleeps 12 – as well as his own rocket launchpad.
Practical family cars
As boss of Tesla, Musk obviously owns a few of the company’s luxury electric cars including one – his Roadster – that went into space in 2018.
His favourite is the Tesla Model S, which retails from £74,000.
But his garage is also filled with supercars and classics including a Porsche 911 turbo, worth £200,000.
The dad-of-seven also has a more practical family car in the £55,000 Audi Q7 SUV and recently added Tesla’s version, the £82,000 Tesla Model X to his collection.
He also owns a classic 1908 Model T Ford, which was a gift from a friend.
Modest Honda and a £3.6m Lamborghini
Incredibly, billionaire Besoz shuns showy cars for his work commute – choosing to drive to work in a humble Honda Accord.
But his garage boasts an impressive supercar collection, including a £2million ($3million) Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio.
He also owns a £3.7million ($5million) Lamborghini Veneno and a £3.5 million ($4.8million) Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita.
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