Did Elon Musk build his fortune on a family legacy? – Release

The source of the wealth of the head of Tesla, SpaceX and perhaps soon Twitter arouses fantasies and rumors.
Asked by Annick on April 27, 2022,

Elon Musk created a surprise on Monday, April 25 by obtaining the agreement of the board of directors of Twitter for the acquisition, at $ 54.20 per share, of the social network, thus valuing the company at about 44,000 millions of dollars. If anyone doubts that the operation will come to an end, this extraordinary foray into one of the most influential social networks in the world gives an idea of ​​the extent of the wealth (and network) of this native billionaire “South- Africa “. In just two years, from 2020 to 2022, Elon Musk’s fortune has risen from $ 26.4 billion to $ 219 billion, according to Forbes, which puts him at the forefront of the richest people on the planet. A fortune composed essentially of shares of his two companies: SpaceX and Tesla. Another distinction awarded by the American Economic Journal to Musk, a self-made scoreof 8/10, considering that he built his fortune himself.

On social media, however, netizens regularly spread a rumor that the billionaire inherited his fortune from his father, who owns an emerald (or diamond) mine. depending on the version). Thus, his entry on Wikipedia indicates that “is the son of Errol Musk, a wealthy South African engineer and real estate developer of African and Anglo-South African descent, who co-owned an emerald mine in Zambia, and Maye Haldeman, a nutritionist and model Canadian.The online encyclopedia is based on a 2018 article from the Business Insider.His father, Errol Musk, had a casual attitude toward the family’s considerable wealth, including the stones of Zambia’s emerald mine, of which Errol owned half the share.“, we can read.

The sound of an emerald mine

The article then recounts an episode in which 16-year-old Elon Musk decided to sell two emeralds to the Tiffany jeweler during one of his father’s many trips. But this anecdote could not be confirmed by the journalist, who explains that he joined Elon Musk on this issue without success. And to indicate that “father and son have a complicated historyIn another article in the South African edition of the news site, Errol Musk had explained how he had co-owned an emerald mine in Zambia, bought from the Italians during an impromptu stopover in Djibouti. On Facebook, he had reacted to the publication of the article, explaining in particular that he no longer received income from this mine and that his involvement in this company “it did not help Elon’s success in the United StatesOn Twitter, Elon Musk has been repeatedly upset by this rumor. “I don’t have an ’emerald mine’, and I haven’t received any free money from anyone, either as an inheritance or not.”had answered, for example, on January 4, 2020.

Still, the 50-year-old businessman comes from a well-established white South African family. “The Musk clan has been present in the country for about two centuries; was listed in Pretoria’s first telephone directory“, we find out in the reference biography written by journalist Ashlee Vance, in 2015 (Tesla, Paypal, SpaceX: the entrepreneur who will change the world, published by Edicions Eyrolles). It should be noted that this work does not refer to the possible purchase of the mine or its benefits.

While Elon Musk is still a child, his father runs a lucrative engineering business, which allows the family to settle down. “in one of the largest houses in Pretoria”. These comfortable conditions allowed, above all, early access to computers and travel. At age 12, says the biographer, “a South African professional newspaper, PC and office technology, released the source code for a video game created by him. It was a space game called Blaster and inspired by science fiction. […] The article earned him $ 500 and gave his character a first look“.

A donation of $ 28,000

At the age of 17, the young man left for Canada, where he had family ties. “En disagree, his father cut off his food“, seconds Le Figaro. In a tweet published in 2021, in response to a rumor about the origin of his apartheid fortune, Elon Musk indicates that he came with $ 2,500 in his pocket. “I paid for my studies myself and ended up with a debt of about $ 100,000.”add.

After two internships in Silicon Valley, Elon Musk and his brother Kimbal founded the Global Link Information Network in 1995, a start-up renamed Zip2. “The Musk brothers hoped to convince restaurants, clothing stores, hairdressers, etc., that the time had come to make themselves known to Internet users. Zip2 will create a business directory linked to geographic maps », describes Ashlee Vance. Launch of the business in a “office six by nine meters”, in Palo Alto, California, is made with little money, according to Vance. However, contrary to what the now head of Space X claims on Twitter, his father did contribute to the launch of the affair (probably more modestly than rumors suggest). “Errol Musk gave his children $ 28,000 to help them, but they ran out of money after renting their premises and buying software and equipment.“, we can read in the biography.

The two brothers raised their stakes and the successful company was bought in 1999 by Compaq Computer for $ 307 million. With this sale, Elon Musk pockets $ 22 million, reaching the rank of billionaire at the age of 27. In the process, according to Vance, he is investing 12 million in the founding of X. com, a new online banking company: a revolutionary concept for its time. In 2000, X.com absorbed its competitor Confinity, the founder of the online payment service PayPal. In July 2002, eBay acquired X. com, in the meantime, as PayPal, for $ 1.5 billion. Elon Musk, who at the same time decided to launch his own space company, SpaceX “,he pocketed about $ 250 million, or $ 180 million after taxes, enough to make his wildest dreams come trueconcludes Ashlee Vance.

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