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Elon Musk loses title of world’s richest person to Bernard Arnault

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Elon Musk has lost his crown as the world’s richest person, after further falls in the value of shares in his electric car company Tesla.

Forbes and Bloomberg, which track the wealth of billionaires, reported that Musk had lost the top spot to France’s Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of the luxury group LVMH.

South Africa-born Musk, who recently took ownership of Twitter, is also the chief executive and largest shareholder in Tesla.

The electric car company has lost more than half of its market value since Musk first made a bid for the social media company in April.

Shares in Tesla were trading at $340.79 (£275.27) on 13 April, the day before Twitter revealed in a securities filing that the billionaire had made a hostile bid to buy the social media company for $43.4bn.

Since then, the Tesla share price has tumbled by more than 50% and is currently trading at about $160.

Fresh falls in the car company’s share price at the start of the week wiped about $7bn off Musk’s fortune, according to Forbes. It calculates that he is now worth about $177bn, compared with Arnault’s net worth of $188bn.

Arnault had briefly overtaken Musk a week ago as a result of share movements before the Tesla chief retook the top spot.

Musk has sold about $20bn of Tesla shares since April to fund his purchase of Twitter.

Tesla’s market value has come under pressure partly as a result of disappointing quarterly results, and concern about disruption at one of its factories in Shanghai.

However, investors have expressed their worry that Musk is distracted by his other ventures, including the rocket company SpaceX and running Twitter. He also regularly attracts criticism for some of the controversial tweets he writes to his 121 million followers on the social media site.

In recent days, Musk appeared to be taken by surprise when he was booed by the audience after joining the comedian Dave Chappelle on stage in San Francisco, who introduced Musk with the line: “Ladies and gentlemen, make some noise for the richest man in the world.”