Elon Musk changes plans, sells $6.9 billion in Tesla shares with Twitter trial looming
With so much of the world’s richest man’s wealth tied up in shares of his electric car company, Tesla is a part of the deal Elon doesn’t want to do anymore for more reasons than just a few subpoenas. Six SEC filings (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) revealed Elon Musk sold more Tesla shares over the last few days, which is surprising given Musk’s tweet saying, “No further TSLA sales planned after today,” after he sold off $8.4 billion worth in April.
Tesla investor Sawyer Merritt tweeted a count of Musk’s activity between August 5th and August 9th, showing he sold 7,924,107 shares worth about $6.9 billion. Just before 11PM ET, Elon responded on Twitter, citing the looming trial against Twitter as an explanation for the new plan.
Musk sold those shares earlier this year to help finance the acquisition of Twitter, and now that he’s trying to exit the arrangement, they’re going to battle it out in a Delaware courtroom starting on October 17th. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal isn’t taking the bait on Elon’s challenge for a public debate, plus there’s no word of any pending settlement. Musk now says he has a reason to prepare for “the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close and some equity partners don’t come through.” If that happens, Musk said, he’s trying to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock.
Exactly how investors will react to word that Musk is done selling (again) is unknown; however, the price of Tesla shares stayed flat at around $850 in after-hours trading. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives tweets, “Musk selling TSLA stock after he said no more sales will lead the Street to focus on chances of Twitter deal happening and Musk preparing cash portion … This stock sale will raise a lot of conversation on Street for bulls/bears in the morning.”