Elon Musk sold nearly US$4 billion worth of Tesla stock


Elon Musk sold US$3.95 billion worth of Tesla stock since finishing his buy of Twitter late final month.

Musk’s Tesla stock gross sales, totaling 19.5 million shares, have been extensively anticipated ever because the Tesla CEO reached a deal to purchase Twitter for US$44 billion. Musk had sold blocks of Tesla shares worth a complete of US$15.4 billion earlier this yr since his deal to purchase Twitter was introduced.

Twitter confirmed Musk purchased the social media firm October 27, however he waited till November 4 to begin promoting extra Tesla shares. He additionally sold blocks of Tesla stock on Monday and Tuesday this week, in response to filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission late Tuesday night time.

It’s not clear if the cash Musk raised went towards the Twitter buy, or to assist losses at Twitter since he took over.

Musk disclosed final week that Twitter has seen a “huge drop in income,” as a rising quantity of advertisers pause spending on the platform within the wake of his takeover of the corporate. He blamed “activist teams” pressuring advertisers for the loss of advert {dollars}.

Twitter misplaced US$270 million within the quarter ending June 30, nicely earlier than Musk took over and advertisers started to flee. It had solely US$2.7 billion of money available on its stability sheet as of June 30. He has introduced plans to cost customers US$8 a month to have verified accounts, and in addition introduced deep employees cuts.

Musk’s two weeks of possession of Twitter have been a “debacle of epic proportions,” stated Dan Ives, tech analyst with Wedbush Securities. Although it is attainable that the cash from Musk’s sale of Twitter gross sales the final two week might have gone towards paying off some short-term financing used to shut the Twitter deal, it could possibly’t be dominated out that it was made essential by huge losses at Twitter.

“The extra he will get into Twitter, the extra it turns into a quicksand sort of deal,” stated Ives.

Tesla’s falling stock

This is just not the most effective time to be promoting Tesla shares, which have misplaced 46% of their worth to this point this yr on disappointing gross sales attributable to provide chain issues. Musk acquired a mean worth of US$202.52 for the Tesla shares he sold because the Twitter deal closed, which is down 10% simply since he closed on his deal to purchase Twitter.

Shares of Tesla fell 1.5% in premarket buying and selling Wednesday.

The firm is going through rising competitors within the electrical car market from established automakers corresponding to Volkswagen, Ford and General Motors. And some buyers have expressed considerations that Musk might be too distracted by his buy of Twitter to offer sufficient consideration to addressing Tesla’s issues.

“Tesla buyers are exacerbated by this by no means ending Twitter albatross,” stated Ives. “Musk must look within the mirror and finish this fixed merry-go-round of Twitter overhang on the Tesla story along with his focus again on the golden baby Tesla which wants his time greater than ever.”

Musk’s stock gross sales

These three most up-to-date blocks of Tesla stock gross sales signify solely 4% of the shares that Musk owns outright by a belief, and fewer than 3% of his holdings if choices that he has to purchase extra shares are included.

Musk agreed to purchase Twitter in April, shortly after filings confirmed he had bought 73 million shares, or a couple of 9% stake, for US$2.6 billion. The purchases made him the corporate’s largest shareholder.

Soon after the deal was introduced, he disclosed he had sold US$8.5 billion worth of Tesla shares, a transfer seen as a primary step to lift the money he would wish to finish the acquisition of Twitter.

Even after Musk introduced a change of coronary heart and fought a lawsuit introduced by Twitter to pressure him to purchase the corporate, he continued to promote Tesla shares. Filings in August confirmed he had sold a further US$6.9 billion worth of Tesla shares.

Musk’s filings didn’t disclose the rationale for these earlier stock gross sales. But after somebody on Twitter requested him if he was finished promoting Tesla shares, he responded “Yes” after which pointed to the likelihood of being compelled to purchase Twitter as the rationale for these gross sales.

Since Musk’s earlier Tesla gross sales, shares of Tesla have cut up three-for-one, that means he wanted to promote thrice as many shares as a way to elevate as a lot money. But his holdings of Tesla shares additionally tripled because of the cut up.

Before his curiosity in Twitter, Musk hardly ever sold shares of Tesla stock, primarily promoting shares essential to pay taxes when exercising stock choices.

He sold a complete of 15.7 million pre-split shares on the finish of 2021, netting a complete of US$16.4 billion, as a result of he needed to train stock choices or danger having them expire. He probably ended up with a tax bill of greater than $10 billion. But even after paying that tax bill and the associated fee to train these choices, he probably had roughly US$5 billion left over. He might have used some of that money to purchase his preliminary Twitter stake.

These newest gross sales signify the bottom worth at which Musk has sold Tesla shares just lately, off about 30% from his gross sales in April and August when adjusted for the Tesla stock cut up since then, and down 42% from what he acquired when he sold shares in late 2021.

— CNN Business’ Clare Duffy and Catherine Thorbecke contributed to this report


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