- Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates have had their net worth slashed by $115 billion this year.
- That's the equivalent of R1.8 trillion.
- The figures come from Bloomberg's Billionaires Index, which tracks the world's 500 richest people.
- Musk's net worth of $224 billion still makes him the world's richest person by a wide margin.
- For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates have suffered a collective $115 billion (some R1.8 trillion) hit to their net worth in the past five months as stock markets tumbled.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Musk's worth has fallen by $46.4 billion, Bezos is down $53.2 billion, while Gates has had $15.1 billion shaved off.
As of Friday, Musk was worth $224 billion, Bezos $139 billion, and Gates $123 billion.
Bernard Arnault, the chairperson of French luxury conglomerate LVMH and the world's third-richest person ahead of Gates, has suffered a $44.7 billion decline to his worth since January to $133 billion.
Most of Musk and Bezos' wealth is tied up Tesla and Amazon shares – the companies they both founded – but Gates' holdings in Microsoft, which he co-founded, is now relatively modest.
Musk has a 15.6% stake in Tesla worth about $122 billion after shares in the electric car maker fell almost 37% this year.
He also acquired a 9.2% stake in Twitter in April, which made investors question his commitment to Tesla and helped cut its value. Musk sold Tesla shares worth $8.4 billion to fund his subsequent $44 billion takeover bid.
Gates has a more diversified portfolio, which has helped him weather the stock market sell-off. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the philanthropic organisation he set up with his now former wife, is mostly invested in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, which has risen by more than 5% this year.
But other investments, including his company Cascade Investments which invests in tech companies such as Apple, have had a bumpier ride. Tech stocks have suffered a sharp correction in recent months in the face of inflationary pressures and falling consumer confidence.
Musk has accused Gates of having a "multi-billion dollar" bet against Tesla by taking out a short position.
The Tesla and SpaceX founder has been engaged in a public war of words with both Gates and Bezos, targeting the pair in a series of tweets accusing Gates of the short and telling Bezos to spend less time partying if he wanted to get into orbit with his Blue Origin rocket venture.
Bezos, who founded Amazon, still owns about 50 million shares in the company worth some $115 billion.
The stock has fallen by almost a third this year but is still worth almost $1.2 trillion - far more than Tesla's $786 billion valuation following a near-37% slide.