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Musk cashes out another US$3.6 billion in Tesla stock

Musk cashes out another US$3.6 billion in Tesla stock

(Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/Dimitrios Kambouris)

Tesla boss Elon Musk disclosed another US$3.6 billion in stock sales on Wednesday (Dec 14), taking his total near US$40 billion this year and frustrating investors as the company's shares wallow at two-year lows.

A US securities filing showed he unloaded 22 million shares in the world's most valuable carmaker over three days from Monday to Wednesday.

The sale is the second big chunk of stock he has cashed out since his US$44 billion purchase of Twitter in October. It isn't clear if the sales are related to the Twitter acquisition, but they are annoying investors who are upset by a perception he is diverting his focus and resources to Twitter ahead of Tesla.

"It doesn't put a lot of confidence in the business, or speak volumes for where his attention is at," said Tony Sycamore, an analyst at brokerage IG Markets, where Tesla is a popular stock among small-time investors.

"It's not a good situation. I've spoken to a lot of investors who have Tesla shares and they're absolutely furious at Elon."

There was no immediate response to a Reuters request for comment from Tesla and from Musk emailed outside business hours. Musk's 13.4 per cent stake in Tesla is down from about 17 per cent a year ago, according to Refinitiv data.

Tesla stock, which fell nearly 3 per cent in premarket trading on Thursday, has halved this year, underperforming both automakers and the broader tech-heavy Nasdaq, which is down about 30 per cent this year.

The value of Musk's total selling over the past year comes to nearly US$40 billion.

"It will start to be tiring for investors," said Tareck Horchani, head of prime brokerage dealing at Maybank Securities in Singapore.


Musk's fortune, mostly tied up in Tesla shares, has fallen with prices this year and he briefly lost his title as the world's richest person last week - according to Forbes - when he was overtaken by Louis Vuitton boss Bernard Arnault.

Besides Tesla and Twitter, where Musk's management and tweets are attracting political attention and blowback, Musk also heads rocket company SpaceX and Neuralink, a startup developing interfaces to connect the human brain to computers.

Tesla, meanwhile, is grappling with lingering logistics challenges and said in October it expected to miss this year's vehicle delivery target. It is more profitable than rivals who have struggled to make money from selling electric cars.

The latest share sale comes a month after Musk sold shares worth US$4 billion in the days after he closed the Twitter deal.

Tesla investor Ross Gerber, a strong supporter of Musk, said on Twitter that Tesla should announce a buy back "to take advantage to (sic) the low share price Elon has created." 

Source: Reuters/ic


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