This week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk became the richest person to ever walk the planet. His fortune skyrocketed to a record $271 billion after Hertz said it would buy 100,000 Tesla vehicles for its rental fleet, pushing up the electric car company’s share price.
But Musk isn’t the only billionaire getting crazy rich off Tesla’s latest stock market rally. Oracle cofounder Larry Ellison—who also sits on Tesla’s board—owns just over 15 million shares of the electric vehicle company, making him Tesla’s second-largest individual shareholder after Musk. On Tuesday, Ellison’s 1.5% stake was worth a whopping $15.5 billion.
Ellison’s stake in Tesla was first disclosed at the very end of 2018, when he became a Tesla board member. The company announced that Ellison had purchased 3 million Tesla shares earlier in 2018 for an undisclosed price; as of December 2018, those shares were worth nearly $1 billion million. He now owns 15 million shares as a result of a 5-1 stock split in August 2020. Measured since December 2018, his initial investment is up more than 1,450%.
In addition, he’s purchased a small number of shares since then, including 6,250 shares for $958,000 in Tesla’s February 2020 secondary common stock offering. Ellison also has 291,000 options that he was awarded in 2019; those are currently worth about $280 million.
“I think Tesla has a lot of upside,” Ellison told financial analysts in 2018, according to CNBC, explaining his investment.
Ellison’s Tesla stake represents about 12% of his estimated $129.4 billion fortune. The majority of Ellison’s wealth comes from his 35% stake in Oracle, the database giant he cofounded in 1977, as well as his vast real estate holdings that include practically the entire Hawaiian island of Lanai.
Ellison isn’t just an investor in Tesla. When he disclosed his Tesla stake in 2018, Ellison also said he was personal friends with Musk, according to CNBC. Ellison joined the board in 2018 after the SEC mandated that the company add two independent directors as part of a settlement regarding Musk’s infamous tweet about taking Tesla private at $420 per share. The pair are still close. During the height of the pandemic’s winter surge, Musk tweeted in December 2020 that he flew to Lanai on a private jet to ask Ellison for advice.