Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk’s selling spree continues, to the chagrin of Tesla investors who can’t seem to catch a break.
In a filing yesterday, Musk disclosed that he sold 22 million shares of Tesla stock Monday through Wednesday. The value of those Tesla stock sales was around $3.6 billion.
Tesla shares have been under immense pressure the past few days, with shares down nearly 13% since the start of the week.
Musk’s stock sales this week bring his total amount sold since April, when he announced his bid to buy Twitter, to $23 billion, and for the year Musk has unloaded $40 billion of stock. The latest selling combined with poor performance of Tesla stock has sent Musk down the Bloomberg Billionaires Index to the number two spot. Musk’s overall stake in Tesla is now down to 13.4%, versus 17% a year ago, per Refinitiv.
The Twitter nightmare continues as Musk uses Tesla as his own ATM machine.Dan Ives, Wedbush Securities
The big story here for investors is Musk’s large stock sales are weighing down Tesla shares at just the wrong time. Ostensibly the sales have been done in order to fund Musk’s Twitter operations, but there has been official confirmation from Musk. The pain of the Twitter acquisition, and Musk’s distraction from Tesla, has sent Wall Street and investors into a fury.
“The Twitter nightmare continues as Musk uses Tesla as his own ATM machine to keep funding the red ink at Twitter which gets worse by the day as more advertisers flee the platform with controversy [increasingly] driven by Musk,” Wedbush’s Dan Ives wrote in a note today. “In late April Musk said he was done selling Tesla stock, instead the exact opposite has happened and put massive pressure on Tesla shares which have significantly underperformed the market since Musk took over Twitter in late October.”
In a note yesterday, Goldman analyst Mark Delaney weighed in on the Twitter distraction, writing that Musk’s increased presence at Twitter and foray into political topics has resulted in Tesla’s brand becoming “more polarizing.” Delaney said it’s crucial for Tesla to shift back the consumer focus of the company to its “core attributes of sustainability and technology,” in order to exceed its long-term expectations for Tesla.
In the near term at least, concerns about demand slowing down, rising rates, higher prices for EVs in general, and a slowdown in the important Chinese market have put pressure on Tesla shares. Musk’s share sales have seemingly only added more fuel to the fire.
Pras Subramanian is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter and on Instagram.
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