Elon Musk says Tesla on his mind 24/7 amid investor concerns about Twitter deal

The world’s richest person says he is spending less than 5% of his time on acquisition of the microblogging site

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Billionaire businessman Elon Musk said Tesla is on his mind “24/7" in a bid to soothe investor concerns that he is being distracted by his $44 billion Twitter acquisition deal, which has weighed on the stock price of the world's largest electric vehicle maker that he runs.

“To be clear, I’m spending 5 per cent (but actually) of my time on the Twitter acquisition. It ain’t rocket science!” the world’s richest person tweeted to his 94.1 million followers on Thursday.

“Yesterday was Giga Texas, today is Starbase. Tesla is on my mind 24/7.”

Tesla opened its new car factory in Texas this year, and Mr Musk’s rocket company SpaceX has a launch site known as Starbase in Boca Chica, Texas.

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.

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Elon Musk - in pictures

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Tesla shares have lost one third of their value since the billionaire disclosed his stake in Twitter in early April and sold $8.5bn worth of Tesla stocks in a move seen to help finance his $44bn Twitter deal.

Tesla's share price is down 41 per cent since the start of this year, giving the company a market value of about $735bn, well below the $1 trillion market capitalisation it hit on October 25, 2021.

Further hurting stocks are China lockdown measures that dampened Tesla’s production and an exclusion of Tesla from a widely-followed S&P sustainability index that tracks companies on their environmental, social and governance standards.

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 company's share price at the close of trading on Thursday was $37.29. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Over the past week, 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 20, 2022, 7:30 AM
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