Thursday started badly for Elon Musk when one of his SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets exploded on the launchpad, days before it was set to take a payload into orbit. Things got worse when Mark Zuckerberg discovered his $95 million satellite was sitting on top of the rocket, and took to Facebook to express his “deep disappointment.”
But as it turns out, blowing up a multi-million-dollar rocket was not Elon’s most expensive mistake yesterday.
As Bloomberg reports, share movements and regulatory filings related to Tesla and SolarCity, two of Musk’s other companies, cost him $779 million yesterday. The stock in both those companies (which are set to merge) took a sharp drop yesterday, with Tesla down 4% and SolarCity dropping by 9%. According to Fortune, the drop was due to cash concerns in Tesla, and ongoing worries from investors over Tesla’s merger with SolarCity.
The biggest hit for Musk’s personal fortune came from a regulatory filing. Musk isn’t paid a salary from any of his companies, so he relies on borrowing money against his sizeable fortune in shares for personal liquidity. A new filing showed that he has used an additional $489 million of shares in his companies as collateral to borrow money, which drops his on-paper fortune by the same amount.
Long term, this may all work out to be wrangling on paper for Musk. If Tesla can pull off its ambitious growth plans and a successful merger, Musk will be richer than ever. But if his other companies go up as dramatically as that Falcon 9, Musk may remember yesterday as the turning point.