What just happened? Elon Musk has sold another 22 million more shares in Tesla, worth around $3.58 billion, taking the total Tesla stock he has sold over the last 12 months to almost $40 billion. This marks the third major selloff since the CEO said he was done selling back in April.
According to a US securities filing made public yesterday, Musk sold 22 million Tesla shares over three days from Monday to Wednesday this week.
After Musk sold $8.4 billion worth of Tesla shares in April, money that was supposed to be used to help finance the Twitter acquisition, the billionaire said he was done selling. But August saw him sell $6.9 billion more, which he said was necessary in case some equity partners didn’t come through in the Twitter deal. Again, Musk insisted he was done selling. Until November, that is, when he sold another 19.5 million shares worth $3.9 billion, just days after the $44 billion takeover of Twitter. Musk also sold $16 billion of Tesla shares in November and December 2021.
Tesla’s current share price is its lowest since 2020, and the EV giant’s market capitalization has dropped below $500 billion for the first time in two years. The company’s market cap is down by more than $700 billion since its all-time high.
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.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 10, 2022
Musk never gave a reason for his latest Tesla shares sale, though on Tuesday he tweeted, “At risk of stating obvious, beware of debt in turbulent macroeconomic conditions, especially when Fed keeps raising rates.”
Twitter has to pay $1 billion a year in debt as part of the buyout. Many advertisers concerned at the platform’s new lack of moderation have cut back on spending, and the company has more than halved its workforce as it looks to save money. It could be left to Musk to help Twitter out of a hole with his own cash.
Musk has also unanimously lost his title as the world’s richest person. Tesla’s falling share price saw Bernard Arnault, chairman of French luxury conglomerate LVMH, overtake Musk on Forbes’ rich list earlier this week. Now, he’s fallen behind Arnault on Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, too.