- Sale brings Musk’s total sales to nearly $40 billion
- The Tesla share is the lowest closing time in two years
- Investors were frustrated by Musk’s sales and focus on Twitter
Dec 15 (Reuters) – Tesla ( TLSA.O ) Chief Executive Elon Musk disclosed another $3.6 billion in stock sales on Wednesday, taking his total to close to $40 billion this year and frustrating investors as the company’s shares tumble in two year’s lowest level.
A US securities filing showed he unloaded 22 million shares in the world’s most valuable carmaker over three days from Monday to Wednesday.
The sale is the second large chunk of stock he has paid out since buying Twitter for $44 billion in October. It’s not clear if the sales are related to the Twitter acquisition, but they are irking investors who are upset over a perception that he is diverting focus and resources to Twitter ahead of Tesla.
“It doesn’t give a lot of confidence in the business or say a lot about where his attention is,” said Tony Sycamore, an analyst at brokerage IG Markets, where Tesla is a popular stock among retail investors.
“It’s not a good situation. I’ve talked to a lot of investors who have Tesla stock, and they’re absolutely furious with Elon.”
There was no immediate response to an after-hours emailed Reuters request for comment from Tesla and from Musk. Musk’s 13.4% stake in Tesla is down from about 17% a year ago, according to Refinitiv data.
Tesla’s share price has halved this year, underperforming both the automakers (.SPLRCAUTM) and the broader tech-heavy Nasdaq (.IXIC), which is down about 30% this year. The value of Musk’s total sales in the past year comes to nearly $40 billion.
“It will start to become tiring for investors,” said Tareck Horchani, head of prime brokerage dealing at Maybank Securities in Singapore.
Musk’s fortune, mostly tied up in Tesla shares, has tumbled this year, and he narrowly lost his title as the world’s richest person last week – according to Forbes – when he was overtaken by Louis Vuitton chief Bernard Arnault.
Besides Tesla and Twitter, where Musk’s leadership and tweets are attracting political attention and backlash, Musk also heads the rocket company SpaceX and Neuralink, a startup developing interfaces to connect the human brain to computers.
Tesla, meanwhile, is grappling with lingering logistics challenges and said in October that it expected to miss this year’s vehicle delivery targets. It is more profitable than rivals who have struggled to make money selling electric cars.
The latest stock sale comes a month after Musk sold $4 billion worth of stock in the days after he closed the Twitter deal.
Tesla investor Ross Gerber, a strong supporter of Musk, said on Twitter that Tesla should announce a buyback “to take advantage of (sic) the low stock price Elon has created.”
Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco; Writing and additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore. Editing by Devika Syamnath and Raju Gopalakrishnan
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