Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has sold 7.92 million Tesla shares worth $6.9 billion amid his legal tussle with micro-blogging platform Twitter Inc. The multibillionaire confirmed on Twitter that he sold Tesla shares to avoid an emergency sale in case he’s forced to close the Twitter deal and some of his equity partners don't come along.
Amid the news, the Tesla stock underwent selling pressure, and the stock closed 2.44% down at $850 on the NASDAQ on August 10. The Twitter share closed at $42.83, down 0.26% on the New York Stock Exchange.
The sale took place on August 5, 8 and 9, and the weighted average price at which Musk sold the Tesla shares was $869.09. Musk now owns 155.04 million shares of the Austin, Texas-based electric vehicle giant. With the latest sale, the world's richest man has sold Tesla stock worth $32 billion little less than a year. In April, too, Musk sold Tesla shares worth $8.5 billion.
Amid the global sell-off in the tech sector and other supply chain factors, the company's stock has faced selling pressure and the stock is down 20% this year.
"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," tweets Musk, whose net worth stands at $250 billion, as per Bloomberg Billionaire's Index, though his wealth has dipped about $20 billion this year.
As a user asked on the social media platform if he would buy the Tesla stock again if the Twitter deal doesn't close, Musk replied saying "Yes". On being asked about his thoughts on creating his own social platform, if the Twitter deal doesn't come through, Musk replied saying "X.com". However, the web address shows a blank page currently.
Musk's Tesla had also sold 75% of its Bitcoin holdings in the second quarter of 2022. Conversions in Q2 added $936 million of cash to the Telsa balance sheet.
Twitter sued Musk in the U.S. Delaware Court of Chancery last month, accusing him of "knowingly" breaching the $44-billion deal. Musk has cited Twitter's inability to provide correct information on bots or fake accounts on its platform as the prime for backing out of the April-25 deal. The two sides now head to trial on October 17.
Amid the ongoing legal battle, Musk last week ran a Twitter poll, asking his followers on the platform to vote on 'Less than 5% of Twitter daily users are fake/spam'. Over 64.9% voted "no", while 35.1% said "yes". To this, Musk replied by saying "Twitter has spoken..." He also said that if Twitter discloses information on bots, he would go ahead with the deal.
Twitter had earlier won its first major battle against the billionaire by succeeding in persuading the court to start an early trial in the takeover deal case. The Delaware judge had ruled in favour of Twitter by choosing a trial date closer to the one proposed by it, in October, not February as was requested by Musk.
On April 25, 2022, Musk, acting through and with his solely-owned entities — parent and acquisition subsidiaries X Holdings I, Inc. and X Holdings II, Inc. — agreed to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash, for a total of about $44 billion. That price, presented by Musk on a take-it-or-leave-it basis in an unsolicited public offer, represented a 38% premium over Twitter’s unaffected share price. Musk had personally committed $33.5 billion to fulfil the deal. On July 8, Musk ended the $44-billion deal abruptly, accusing Twitter of failing to provide information on bot accounts. Twitter termed Musk’s purported termination of the deal "invalid and wrongful". Four days later, Twitter sued Musk in court to complete the merger deal.