Musk is cashing in another $3.6 billion in Tesla stock

  • The sale brings Musk’s total sales to nearly $40 billion
  • Tesla shares hit lowest close in two years
  • Investors were frustrated by Musk’s sales and focused on Twitter

Dec 15 (Reuters) – Tesla (TLSA.O) Boss Elon Musk disclosed another $3.6 billion stock sale on Wednesday, taking his total this year to close to $40 billion and sending the company’s shares to a two-year low, disappointing investors.

He unloaded 22 million shares of the world’s most valuable carmaker in the three days from Monday to Wednesday, U.S. securities filings show.

It’s the second-biggest stock sale he’s received in cash since buying Twitter for $44 billion in October. It’s unclear whether the sales are related to the Twitter acquisition, but they irked investors upset by the idea that he is turning his attention and resources to Twitter rather than Tesla.

“It doesn’t inspire much confidence in the business, or speak to where his focus is,” said Tony Sycamore, an analyst at brokerage IG Markets, whose Tesla stock is popular among small-time investors.

“It’s not a good situation. I’ve talked to a lot of investors who own Tesla stock and they’re absolutely furious with Elon.”

Tesla and Musk did not immediately respond to an emailed request from Reuters outside business hours. Musk’s 13.4% stake in Tesla has fallen from 17% a year ago, according to Refinitiv data.

Tesla’s share price has halved this year, with both automakers underperforming (.SPLRCAUTM) and the broader tech-heavy Nasdaq (.IXIC), which is down about 30% this year. Musk’s total sales last year were nearly $40 billion.

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“It’s going to be tiring for investors,” said Tareck Horchani, head of prime brokerage transactions at Maybank Securities in Singapore.

Spread thinly

Musk’s fortune, built mostly in Tesla shares, has fallen along with prices this year and last week he briefly lost the title of world’s richest man – according to Forbes – to Louis Vuitton boss Bernard Arnold.

In addition to Tesla and Twitter, where Musk’s administration and tweets have drawn political attention and backlash, Musk also heads rocket company SpaceX and Neuralink, a startup that develops interfaces that connect the human brain to computers.

Tesla, meanwhile, is struggling with lingering logistics challenges and is expected to miss this year’s vehicle delivery target in October. It is more profitable than competitors who have struggled to make money selling electric cars.

The latest stock sale comes a month after Musk sold $4 billion worth of stock within days of closing the Twitter deal.

Tesla investor Ross Gerber, a strong supporter of Musk, said on Twitter that Tesla had to announce the buyback “to take advantage (sic) of the low stock price that Elon created.”

Reporting by Maria Ponnejad in Bangalore and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; Writing and additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore. Editing by Devika Syamnath and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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