Musk sells $6.9 billion worth of Tesla shares, mentions chance of forced Twitter deal

Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory groundbreaking ceremony in Shanghai, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

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Aug 10 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc ( TSLA.O ) Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk sold $6.9 billion worth of shares in the electric car maker, saying the funds could be used to finance a potential Twitter deal if he loses a legal battle with the company. social media platform.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to end *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it’s important to avoid an emergency selloff of Tesla stock,” he said in a tweet late Tuesday.

At the beginning of July, Musk tore up his agreement on April 25 to buy Twitter for 44 billion dollars. Twitter has sued Musk to force him to complete the transaction, rejecting his claim that it was misled about the number of spam accounts on the social media platform that are buyer’s remorse in the wake of a plunge in tech stocks. The two sides go to trial on October 17.

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“Street will read through this poker move that Twitter deal chances are more likely now,” tweeted Dan Ives, analyst at Wedbush Securities.

In other comments on Twitter on Tuesday, Musk said “yes” when asked if he was done selling Tesla stock, and also said he would buy Tesla stock again if the Twitter deal doesn’t close.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Musk, the world’s richest person, sold Tesla shares for $8.5 billion in April and had said at the time that no further sales were planned. But since then, legal experts have suggested that if Musk is forced to complete the acquisition or settle the dispute with a stiff penalty, he is likely to sell more Tesla shares.

Musk sold about 7.92 million shares between Aug. 5 and Aug. 9, according to multiple filings. He now owns 155.04 million Tesla shares or just under 15% of the car manufacturer according to Reuters calculations.

The latest sale brings Musk’s total Tesla stock sales to about $32 billion in less than a year.

Tesla shares have risen nearly 15% since the automaker reported better-than-expected earnings on July 20, also helped by the Biden administration’s climate change bill that, if passed, would raise the cap on tax credits for electric vehicles.

Musk also teased Tuesday that he might start his own social media platform. Asked by a Twitter user if he had considered creating his own platform if the deal didn’t close, he replied: “”

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Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Shubham Kalia and Shivam Patel; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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