Musk sells $7 billion worth of Tesla stock amid Twitter legal battle

  • Elon Musk sold 7.92 million Tesla shares worth $6.9 billion over three days this past week.
  • He said he wanted to “avoid a distress sale” of Tesla stock in the event he was forced to buy Twitter.
  • Musk said in April that he had no plans to offload any more shares in the electric car maker.

Elon Musk sold 7.92 million Tesla shares worth $6.9 billion, according to six regulatory filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission made public on Tuesday. They took place from August 5 to August 9.

The Tesla chief suggested he was selling the stock now to raise cash in case he was forced to buy Twitter, rather than risk a sale at lower prices if the deal went through.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to end *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it’s important to avoid a distress sale of Tesla stock,” Musk tweeted late Tuesday after his latest Tesla stock sale was announced.

He answered “Yes” to questions from followers about whether he was done selling and whether he would buy Tesla shares again if the Twitter deal doesn’t go through.

Musk and Twitter are locked in a legal battle over his $44 billion purchase of the social media platform that was announced in April. In May, Musk said he was putting the deal “on hold” until Twitter proved fewer than 5% of the accounts were fake, as his bid was based on the company’s SEC filing being accurate. Twitter said in an SEC filing on May 2 that fewer than 5% of accounts on its platform were fake.

In July, the billionaire said he was ending the deal. Twitter then sued Musk to try to back out of the acquisition, and Musk sued the company for misleading him.

On Saturday, Musk tweeted that the Twitter deal “should continue on original terms” if the social media platform discloses how it tests accounts to determine whether they are genuine. “But if it turns out that their SEC filing is materially false, then it shouldn’t,” he added.

Musk tweeted On April 29, he did not plan any more stock sales after he sold $4 billion worth of Tesla stock over two days. He has now sold Tesla shares for around $32 billion in total over the past 10 months, according to Bloomberg calculations. He now owns 155 million shares in Tesla, according to an SEC filing on Tuesday.

Tesla shares closed 2.44% lower at $850 apiece on Tuesday before filings about Musk’s latest stock sale were made public. They have fallen about 12% since Musk first said he would buy Twitter and have lost 29% in value so far this year.

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