Electric Vehicles

Musk Sells $6.9bn Tesla Shares on Risk of Forced Twitter Deal

 

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has confirmed selling $6.9 billion worth of shares in his electric vehicle company, saying it was done to cover the risk that he loses his legal battle with Twitter and is forced to takeover the social media platform.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” he said in a tweet late on Tuesday.

In early July Musk tore up his April 25 agreement to buy Twitter for $44 billion. That led to Twitter suing Musk to force him to complete the transaction, with the group saying he had “buyer’s remorse” in the wake of a plunge in technology stocks and dismissing his claim he was misled about the number of spam accounts on the social media platform.

The two sides will outline their positions when the matter goes to court on October 17.

 

“Street will read through this poker move that chances of Twitter deal more likely now,” Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, tweeted.

In other comments on Twitter on Tuesday, Musk said “yes” when asked if he was done selling Tesla stock, but also said he would buy Tesla stock again if the Twitter deal does not close.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

ALSO SEE: Elon Musk Twitter Feed ‘Attracts 23% Spam, Fake Account Rate’

 

Tesla Shares Up on Climate Bill

Musk, the world’s richest person, sold $8.5 billion worth of Tesla shares in April and said at the time no further sales were planned.

But legal experts have suggested since then that if Musk is forced to complete the acquisition or settle the dispute with a stiff penalty, he was likely to sell more Tesla shares.

Musk sold about 7.92 million shares between August 5 and 9, according to multiple filings. He now owns just over 155 million Tesla shares or just under 15% of the automaker, according to Reuters’ calculations.

The latest sales bring total Tesla stock sales by Musk to about $32 billion in less than one year.

Tesla shares have risen nearly 15% since the automaker reported better-than-expected earnings on July 20, also helped by the Biden administration’s climate bill that, if passed, would lift the cap on tax credits for electric vehicles.

Musk also teased on Tuesday that he could start his own social media platform. When asked by a Twitter user if he had thought about creating his own platform if the deal didn’t close, he replied: “X.com”

X.com was an online bank founded by Musk and several others in 1999 in California. It merged with Confinity Inc and changed its name to PayPal, which was bought by eBay for $1.5bn in 2002.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard

 

 

 

ALSO SEE:

 

Tesla Factory Upgrade Slashes Output of China-Made EVs

 

Tesla Profits Upbeat as Musk Sells Off Most Bitcoin Holdings

 

Key Tesla AI Executive Leaves Firm Without Stating Reason

 

Tesla Ex-Workers Sue Electric Car Maker to Reclaim Benefits

 

Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years and has a family in Bangkok.

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