Elon Musk loses $12bn in a day as Tesla shares fall after boot from S&P 500 ESG Index

Investors in the electric vehicle maker concerned over how he plans to fund his offer for Twitter

Elon Musk has lost $49 billion since launching his bid to acquire Twitter last month. Reuters
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Billionaire businessman Elon Musk spent Wednesday on Twitter, announcing his political switch from Democrat to Republican, trashing ESG and replying to several users of the social media website he has agreed to buy.

Shares in his electric vehicle company, Tesla, meanwhile, sank to the lowest level this year, wiping $12.3 billion from Mr Musk’s wealth, while Twitter slid still further.

All told, Mr Musk has lost $49bn since launching his bid for Twitter last month, partly because the wider market tumbled and some investors in Tesla grew concerned over how he would fund his offer for the San Francisco-based microblogging site.

Mr Musk, 50, remains the world’s richest person, with a fortune of $209.9bn, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

But $60.4bn has been shaved off his wealth this year, trailing only cryptocurrency exchange Binance’s founder Changpeng Zhao, who is down $81bn, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s $62bn drop.

Mr Musk has grown increasingly vocal since launching his $44bn offer for Twitter. Wednesday was no exception.

He tweeted that ESG was “a scam” after Tesla lost its spot on an S&P Global index that tracks companies on their environmental, social and governance standards.

He also predicted that “political attacks” on him would “escalate dramatically in coming months”.

In a separate tweet, Mr Musk said he had supported the Democrats in the past because “they were [mostly] the kindness party”, but has now changed his mind.

Twitter said on Tuesday that it is committed to the agreement it struck with Mr Musk. The billionaire businessman had agreed to acquire Twitter for $54.20 a share in cash ― a total of $44bn. The deal is expected to complete by the end of this year.

Mr Musk locked horns with Twitter chief executive Parag Agrawal over the company's estimates of spam accounts. Mr Musk tweeted that the “deal cannot move forward” unless the company provides proof that fewer than 5 per cent of its users are fake.

In a filing last week, Twitter said false or spam accounts represented fewer than 5 per cent of its monetisable daily active users during the first quarter.

On Friday, Mr Musk tweeted that his acquisition of Twitter is temporarily on hold pending details on the amount of fake accounts on the platform.

If Mr Musk decides to abandon the agreement, he would have to pay the social media company a $1bn break-up fee.

Updated: May 19, 2022, 6:16 AM
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