Musk is shelling out another $3.6 billion in Tesla stock

  • The sale brings Musk’s total sales to nearly $40 billion
  • Tesla stock hits its lowest close in two years
  • Investors are frustrated with Musk’s sell-off and focus on Twitter

Dec. 15 (Reuters) – Tesla (TLSA.O) Chairman Elon Musk revealed another $3.6 billion in stock sales on Wednesday, bringing his total sales to nearly $40 billion this year and frustrating investors as the company’s shares plunge to two-year lows.

A US securities filing showed he offloaded 22 million shares in the world’s most expensive automaker over three days, from Monday to Wednesday.

The sale is the second big chunk of stock he’s gained since he bought Twitter for $44 billion in October. It’s not clear if the sales are related to the Twitter acquisition, but it does unsettle investors who chafe at the perception that it is shifting its focus and resources to Twitter ahead of Tesla.

“It doesn’t put a lot of faith in the business, or talk about how much it cares,” said Tony Sycamore, an analyst at brokerage IG Markets, where Tesla is a popular stock among small investors.

“It’s not a good situation. I’ve talked to a lot of investors who have Tesla stock and they’re absolutely mad at Elon.”

There was no immediate response to a Reuters request for comment from Tesla and from Musk via email outside of business hours. 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 automakers (.SPLRCAUTM) and the broader high-tech Nasdaq (nineteenth)Which is down about 30% this year. Musk’s total sales over the past year were nearly $40 billion.

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“It will start to tire investors,” said Tariq Horchani, head of prime trading at Maybank Securities in Singapore.

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Musk’s fortune, constrained mostly in Tesla shares, has fallen with prices this year and he briefly lost his title as the world’s richest person last week – according to Forbes – when he was overtaken by Bernard Arnault, the president of Louis Vuitton.

Besides Tesla and Twitter, where Musk’s administration and tweets attract political attention and backlash, Musk also heads up the rocket company SpaceX and Neuralink, a startup developing interfaces to connect the human brain to computers.

Meanwhile, Tesla is grappling with lingering logistical challenges and said in October that it expected to miss its vehicle delivery target for this year. It is more profitable than competitors who have struggled to make money selling electric cars.

The latest share sale comes a month after Musk sold $4 billion in shares in the days after the Twitter deal closed.

Tesla investor Ross Gerber, who is a staunch supporter of Musk, said on Twitter that Tesla should announce the buyback “to take advantage (sic) of the lower share price that Elon created.”

Additional reporting by Maria Ponizath in Bengaluru and Hyunju-jin in San Francisco; Writing and additional reporting by Tom Westbrook from Singapore. Editing by Devika Syamnath and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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