Elon Musk Sells Tesla Shares Worth $8.5 Billion Ahead of Twitter Takeover

Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk sold $8.5 billion (roughly Rs. 65,044 crore) worth of shares in the electric vehicle maker, US securities filings showed, in sales likely aimed at helping finance his planned purchase of Twitter.

Musk said in a tweet on Thursday that there are “no further TSLA sales planned after today”. He sold about 9.6 million shares this week, according to the filings on Thursday and Friday, equating to 5.6 percent of his stake in the company.

It was not clear whether all of Musk’s recent Tesla share sales were reported. Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The sale came after Musk on Monday clinched a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion (roughly Rs. 3,36,690 crore) in cash in a transaction that will shift control of the social media platform populated by millions of users and global leaders to the world’s richest person. Musk’s net worth is $268 billion (roughly Rs. 20,50,725 crore), according to Forbes.

As part of the deal, Musk said he would provide a $21 billion (roughly Rs. 1,60,690 crore) equity commitment.

It was not immediately clear how the billionaire would raise the remaining $12.5 billion (roughly Rs. 95,600 crore) of equity financing. Musk holds a 43.61 percent stake in unlisted rocket company SpaceX, which is reportedly valued at $100 billion (roughly Rs. 7,65,230 crore).

Tesla shares rose about 5 percent in morning trading on Friday. They have tumbled about 20 percent since Musk’s disclosure of a more than 9 percent stake in Twitter on April 4.

Musk has been looking for partners to reduce his equity contribution to the deal, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters, adding that it is far from certain such a partner will emerge.

This is his first Tesla stock sale since he offloaded $16.4 billion (roughly Rs. 1,25,500 crore) worth of shares in November and December after polling Twitter users about selling 10 percent of his stake in the electric car maker.

Musk said on Twitter that he would pay more than $11 billion (roughly Rs. 84,140 crore) in taxes in 2021 due to his exercise of stock options set to expire this year.

Some traders have fretted this week that Musk may not have enough money sitting around to fund his $21 billion (roughly Rs. 1,60,690 crore) cash contribution and could walk away from the deal, weighing on Twitter shares.

As part of the Twitter financing deal, Musk secured commitments for $13 billion (roughly Rs. 99,480 crore) in loans secured against Twitter and a $12.5 billion margin loan tied to his Tesla stock.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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