Mark Zuckerberg jumps two spots to No4 in the Rich List after his fortune rockets $28 billion in days – could he really catch Elon Musk this year?

Mark Zuckerberg is now the fourth richest person in the world – after Meta’s share price soared by more than 20 percent in a day.

So far in 2024, the 39-year-old’s wealth has increased by $28 billion – more than anyone else, and most of that in the past day after huge gains for Meta. His fortune now stands at $170.5 billion.

That put him ahead of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and the tech titan’s founder Bill Gates.

And Zuckerberg’s wealth will continue to rise. He cheered investors on Thursday by announcing the first ever dividend on Meta’s stock – a share of earnings as a reward for holding shares in the company.

But – as the largest shareholder himself, with a 13 percent stake – it is Zuckerberg HIMSELF who will benefit more than anyone from the 50 cents a share bonus. To him, the dividend is worth $700 million a year.

Mark Zuckerberg is now the fourth richest person in the world - after Meta's share price soared 22 percent in a day

Mark Zuckerberg is now the fourth richest person in the world – after Meta’s share price soared 22 percent in a day

Mark Zuckerberg is now the fifth richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg index

Mark Zuckerberg is now the fifth richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg index

While Zuckerberg’s listed salary from Meta is a paltry $1, his shares in the company have seen his net worth rise to $170.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

It’s a big comeback for Zuckerberg’s wealth, which fell below $35 billion in late 2022.

The world’s richest person, Elon Musk, has had a tough year so far – although he remains the richest for now.

His net worth has fallen by $23.6 billion since the start of 2024, according to Bloomberg.

If the rate of decline for Musk and the speed of growth for Zuckerberg continue, the Facebook founder will overtake the Tesla boss in just a few months.

This is unlikely, experts say. Tesla has had a particularly bad start to the year — and Musk is likely to turn it around given his track record.

But – aside from a falling stock price for Tesla – Musk’s $205 billion net worth faces a potential financial hit as a result of the courts. A Delaware judge ruled this week that he is not entitled to his $55 billion Tesla compensation package.

According to Bloomberg, the pay package is worth around $51.1 billion – which means the businessman’s net worth could drop to around $154 billion if he loses the asset.

This would drop him several notches on the current list of the world’s richest people.

Second, with a net worth of $185 billion, is French businessman Bernard Arnault, who is the CEO of LVMH.

LVMH is the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate – with a portfolio of more than 70 brands, including Louis Vuitton, Moet & Chandon, Hennessy and Sephora.

Third is Amazon founder Jeff Bezos – whose fortune has reached $185 billion – and fourth is Microsoft founder Bill Gates with a net worth of $144 billion.

Zuckerberg rose above Steve Ballmer, who was Microsoft’s CEO from 2000 to 2014, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

Meta shares rose 20 percent on Friday, closing at a high of $474.99 per share.

The company reported on Thursday that it had tripled its profit in a mammoth final quarter results for 2023, and investors also bought shares on the back of a promised dividend.

The company, who owns FacebookInstagram and WhatsApp, announced that it earned $14 billion, or $5.33 per share, from October to December last year – up from $4.65 billion, or $1.76 per share, a year earlier.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, is currently the richest person on earth

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, is currently the richest person on earth

Meta's shares soared after announcing its flashy Q4 2023 earnings

Meta’s shares soared after announcing its flashy Q4 2023 earnings

Analysts had expected earnings of $4.82 a share on revenue of $39.1 billion, according to FactSet Research.

Revenue, meanwhile, rose 25 percent to $40.11 billion in the quarter.

That was up from $32.2 billion a year earlier — the fastest growth for any period since mid-2021 — as its online advertising market continued to recover.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement: ‘We had a great quarter as our community and business continue to grow. We’ve made a lot of progress with our vision for advancing AI and the metaverse.’

It marks a significant turnaround for the company, whose shares suffered a crash in 2022 that wiped out more than three-quarters of their value at the time.

As a result, Meta entered a self-described ‘year of efficiency’ in 2023 – which put a huge emphasis on cost-cutting and involved laying off thousands of workers.

The company said it had 67,317 employees as of Dec. 31, 2023, a 22 percent year-over-year decline.

Meta also credited advances in AI and improvements to its advertising business for the success, which is growing faster than rival Google.

The surge in Meta’s share price comes just days after Zuckerberg appeared with other tech leaders at a US Senate hearing.

Mark Zuckerberg was sworn in to testify at the US Senate hearing this week

Mark Zuckerberg has been sworn in to testify at the US Senate hearing this week

The billionaire apologized to families who said their children had been harmed by social media.

He appeared alongside TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew, Discord boss Jason Citron, X chief Linda Yaccarino and Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel.

All have been grilled by Republicans about how they protect teenagers and children on their respective apps.

“I’m sorry for everything you’ve all been through,” Zuckerberg said. ‘It’s terrible. No one should have to go through what your families have suffered.’