Tesla CEO Elon Musk sold $6.9 billion worth of shares in the EV maker, explaining that he could use the funds to finance a potential Twitter deal if he is legally forced to complete the $44 billion takeover of the social media platform.
According to several SEC filings dated August 5, 8 and 9, Musk sold a total of 7,924,107 Tesla shares worth about $6.9 billion in total at a weighted average price of $869,09. After this latest sale, Elon Musk now owns 155.04 million Tesla shares or just under 15 percent of the automaker, according to Reuters calculations.
This brings total Tesla stock sales by Musk to about $32 billion in less than one year. Asked by Tesla pundit Sawyer Merritt on Twitter if he was done selling, Musk confirmed and explained why he made the move.
"Yes. 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."
He also replied "Yes" to a question on whether he will buy Tesla stock again if the Twitter deal does not close.
This is the first time Musk has sold Tesla shares after offloading about $8.5 billion worth of shares in April. After selling the last batch of shares on April 29, the executive said that there were "no further TSLA sales planned after today."
Obviously, that did not happen as Musk has now sold another massive batch of shares. According to Reuters, legal experts have seen this coming and predicted Musk would sell more Tesla shares if he was forced to complete the acquisition or settle the dispute with a stiff penalty.
In early July, the billionaire tore up his April 25 agreement to buy Twitter for $44 billion, claiming he was misled about the number of spam accounts—the so-called bots—on the social media platform.
Twitter dismissed his claim as buyer's remorse in the wake of a plunge in technology stocks and sued Musk to force him to complete the transaction. The two sides will head to trial on October 17.
In light of Musk's Tesla stock sale, Wall Street is now seeing the chances of a Twitter deal more likely, Wedbush securities analyst Dan Ives suggested in a tweet, calling the Tesla CEO's action a "poker move."