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Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Picture: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Picture: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS

San Francisco/Bengaluru — Tesla CEO Elon Musk sold $4bn worth of shares in the electric vehicle maker, US securities filings showed on Thursday, in sales likely aimed at helping finance his planned purchase of Twitter.

Musk said in a tweet that there are "no further TSLA sales planned after today". He sold 4.4-million shares on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the filings, equating to 2.6% of his stake in the company.

The sale came after Musk on Monday clinched a deal to buy Twitter for $44bn cash in a transaction that will shift control of the social media platform populated by millions of users and global leaders to the world's richest person. Musk’s net worth is $268bn, according to Forbes.

As part of the deal, Musk said he would provide a $21bn equity commitment.

It is not clear how he will cover the remaining $17bn of equity financing. Musk holds a 43.61% stake in unlisted rocket company SpaceX that is reportedly valued at $100bn.

Musk has been looking for partners to reduce his equity contribution to the deal, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters, adding that it was far from certain such a partner would emerge.

This is his first Tesla stock sale since he offloaded $16.4bn worth of shares in November and December after polling Twitter users about selling 10% of his stake in the electric car maker.

Musk said on Twitter that he would pay more than $11bn in taxes in 2021 due to his exercise of stock options set to expire this year.

Some traders have fretted this week that Musk may not have enough money sitting around to fund his $21bn cash contribution and could walk away from the deal, weighing on Twitter shares.

Tesla shares have fallen nearly 20% since Musk disclosed his over 9% stake in Twitter on April 4. Investors have expressed concern that Musk may have to sell Tesla shares to fund his equity contribution to the takeover offer.

As part of the Twitter deal, Musk also took out a $12.5bn margin loan tied to his Tesla stock. He had already borrowed against around half of his Tesla shares.

Reuters

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