Elon Musk sold almost $4bn of Tesla stock after Twitter purchase

Billionaire sold more than 19 million shares in the electric car company, regulatory filings show

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has been selling the company's stock. Reuters
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Elon Musk sold almost $4 billion of Tesla stock after he purchased Twitter for $44bn, US Securities and Exchange Commission filings have shown.

Documents filed on November 4, 7 and 8 show the world's richest person sold more than 19 million shares in the electric car company.

The Tesla chief executive has unloaded about $36bn worth of shares in the company in the past year — around half of that since he went public with the Twitter buyout plan, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.

The deal to buy Twitter followed months of back and forth as Mr Musk tried to pull out amid concerns about the number of bots on the social media platform.

He sold $6.9bn worth of Tesla shares in August and said at the time: "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."

The stock is currently down 53 per cent from its peak last year, pushing Mr Musk's fortune to $179.5bn from $340bn at the high, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Mr Musk said he bought Twitter because he believed it was “important to the future of civilisation to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner without resorting to violence”.

He said last week that the social media platform has had a “massive drop in revenue” because of advertisers pausing spending, without specifying how much it had lost.

Major companies, including US car maker General Motors, consumer food manufacturer General Mills and German car manufacturer Audi, have decided to pause advertising on Twitter as they monitor how things would pan out with Mr Musk now in charge.

Thousands of jobs at Twitterwere reportedly cut, although Mr Musk has not specified the exact number.

"Regarding Twitter’s reduction in force, unfortunately, there is no choice when the company is losing over $4M/day. Everyone exited was offered 3 months of severance, which is 50% more than legally required," he tweeted on November 5.

“It looks like Musk is preparing for things to stay bad at Twitter for the next year,” Gene Munster of Loup Ventures told Bloomberg after the stock sales became public.

“He’s preparing for Twitter to be a money hole.”

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Updated: November 09, 2022, 9:57 AM
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