Elon Musk sells $4bn worth of Tesla stock days after Twitter deal

The Tesla CEO offloaded 4.4 million shares on April 26 and April 27, according to regulatory filings.

Elon Musk sold about $4 billion worth of Tesla Inc. stock days after reaching a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter Inc.

The Tesla chief executive officer offloaded 4.4 million shares on April 26 and April 27, according to regulatory filings. Musk has now disposed of more than $20 billion worth of stock in the electric-car maker during the last six months.

The world’s wealthiest man reached an agreement on April 25 to acquire Twitter using a financing plan that’s alarmed some Tesla investors. In addition to pledging tens of billions of dollars worth of his Tesla shares to support margin loans, Musk has vowed to line up some $21 billion worth of equity. It’s been unclear how much of that would come from selling a portion of his Tesla stake.

Tesla shares rose 3% as of 4:30 a.m. Friday in New York, before the start of regular trading. The company has shed about $275 billion worth of market value since Musk first disclosed having taken a stake in Twitter early this month.

“It’s a brutal cycle for Tesla investors to navigate and casts a shadow on the name,” said Dan Ives, a Wedbush analyst with the equivalent of a buy rating on the shares. “The Twitter deal is becoming an albatross for Tesla’s stock.”

Musk, 50, tweeted after the filings were released Thursday that he has “no further Tesla sales planned after today.” It’s unclear whether he may have done more than $4 billion worth of selling. The tweet could imply there were more disposals on Thursday that would have to be reported by Friday.

The Twitter deal is poised to be one of the biggest leveraged buyouts in history, with Musk arranging $25.5 billion of debt and margin-loan financing from lenders including Morgan Stanley. If it were to fall apart, the party breaking up the agreement would be required to pay a termination fee of $1 billion under certain circumstances.

Twitter shares closed Thursday at $49.11, short of the $54.20 that investors will receive for each share they own under the company’s deal with Musk.

Musk’s pursuit of Twitter has once again highlighted the extent to which Tesla’s valuation hinges on how involved and invested its CEO is in the business. He’s headed the company since 2008 and has long been its largest shareholder.

Tesla’s stock slumped late last year as Musk offloaded more than $16 billion worth of shares, his first sales in more than five years. The disposals started in November after Musk polled Twitter users on whether he should trim his stake.

With a $252.2 billion fortune, Musk is the world’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. But the recent slump in Tesla shares has shaved off $18 billion from his net worth this year, even as the carmaker reported better-than-expected earnings earlier this month.

(Updates to add context started in seventh paragraph)

–With assistance from Tim Smith, Michael Sin, Michael J. Munoz, Derek Wallbank and Craig Trudell.

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