Tesla CEO Elon Musk sold over 20 million shares of the company stock between Monday and Wednesday. The sale is worth about $3.5 billion, according to a regulatory filing. Musk’s latest stock dump follows the nearly $4 billion worth of shares he sold last month.
Musk hasn’t provided a reason publicly for the share sell this time around, nor if he is done for the day. In April, he sold off $8.5 billion worth of Tesla stock, and in August Musk offloaded another $7 billion’s worth.
After Wednesday’s share sell, Musk owns roughly $66 billion worth of Tesla stock.
The sell comes as Tesla investors raise concerns over Musk’s involvement with Twitter, which the executive recently took over after a controversial, and expensive, purchase. Investors say Musk’s involvement with the social media platform is detrimental to Tesla, arguments they back by pointing to the company’s stock price. Trading at $156.80 after hours on Wednesday, Tesla stock is down 60.8% from January, and is on track for their worst full-year performance.
Some analysts speculate that today’s stock sell is Musk’s answer to some of the high interest debt he’s paying on his $44 billion Twitter deal. Twitter took on $13 billion in debt as part of that deal, including about $3 billion of unsecured debt on which Twitter pays an interest rate of 11.75%.
Investors say it doesn’t seem like the sell was planned, and it’s unclear if Musk is done selling. That said, Musk only has until Friday to sell more stock before Tesla goes into a quiet period for the end of the quarter. Some investors expressed frustration that Musk has been unpredictable when it comes to selling stock. Years ago he said he wouldn’t sell shares. When he went back on that earlier this year, Musk said he was done selling. But then lo and behold, he goes ahead and dumps stock again on three separate occasions.
The stock sell also comes as some of Tesla’s most hardcore investors beg Musk and the board to consider buying back shares as the company’s stock price continues to slump. Musk said during Tesla’s Q3 earnings that the company is likely to do a buyback next year, possibly between $5 billion and $10 billion.
Musk’s latest stock dump comes the same day that the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate to a range between 4.25% and 4.5%. Often, stock prices take a hit when interest rates rise, so Musk could have been selling in anticipation of Tesla stock losing more value in coming weeks.
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