Chief executive of Tesla, Elon Musk sold $6.9 billion of his shares in the electric car maker, his biggest sale on record, saying he needs cash in case he is forced to proceed with his aborted deal to buy Twitter.
“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 world’s richest person tweeted on Tuesday night, after the sales were disclosed in a series of regulatory filings.
Asked by followers if he was done selling and whether he would buy Tesla stock again if the $44 billion deal did not close, Mr Musk, 51, said “yes”.
The billionaire offloaded about 7.92 million shares on August 5, according to the new filings.
The sale comes only four months after he said he had no further plans to sell Tesla shares after disposing of $8.5bn of stock in the wake of his initial offer to buy Twitter.
Since then, Tesla’s shares have rebounded from lows reached in May, benefiting from broader gains in US equities.
“He certainly is clarifying that he is cashing up for Twitter,” said Charu Chanana, strategist at Saxo Capital Markets in Singapore.
“The timing of the sale — just ahead of the US CPI [consumer price index] release — does say something though. The bear market rally has started to falter, and further repricing of Fed expectations could mean more pain for equities ahead, especially in tech.”
Tesla shares have risen about 35 per cent from recent lows reached in May, although are still down by about 20 per cent this year.
The electric car maker’s market fortunes have been tied to those of the Twitter deal since Mr Musk made his surprise overture earlier this year.