Elon Musk just sold $7 billion of his stock in Austin-based Tesla, want to know why? – Black Business Journal

Elon Musk has sold nearly $7 billion worth of shares in Austin-based Tesla as the billionaire gets his finances in order ahead of his court battle with Twitter.

Musk sold about 8 million shares in the electric automaker, according to a series of regulatory filings.

“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,” Musk tweeted late Tuesday.

Musk is by far the largest individual shareholder in both Tesla and Twitter, owning about 17% of the carmaker’s shares, and about 9% of Twitter’s stock.

Tesla moved its corporate headquarters to Central Texas late last year, to the site of its new $1.1 billion manufacturing facility. The facility in southeastern Travis County, which started producing cars last year and started delivering its first Model Y SUV vehicles this month, has become increasingly important to Tesla and Musk. Giga Texas, as Tesla has dubbed the factory, is expected to hire 10,000 people through 2022, and will produce Model Y SUVs, the Cybertruck, Semi, Model 3 compact sedan and batteries.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at an April 7 grand opening celebration for the company's $1.1 billion manufacturing facility in AUstin.

Shares of Tesla were up more than 3% on Wednesday. Shares of Twitter, which have climbed about 16% in the past month, were also up about 3%.

Musk’s sales of the Tesla shares occurred between Aug. 5 and Aug. 9, according securities filings, just after the company held its annual shareholders meeting on Aug. 4. At the meeting Musk said Tesla aims to produce 20 million vehicles annually by 2030. The company’s two newest facilities in Austin and Berlin are expected to play a significant role in Tesla’s growth, and Musk also hinted that the company may announce yet another factory site this year.  Tesla shareholders also approved a three-for-one stock split.

Tesla’s stocks amid Elon Musk’s legal fight with Twitter

The share prices for both Tesla and Twitter had taken a hit in recent months after Musk offered to buy Twitter at $54.20 a share. The company’s stock dropped to around $39 a share by the time he tried to call off the deal. Currently Twitter’s stock sits around $44.32 a share. At the time, Austin-based Tesla’s stock had dropped nearly 30% deal was announced.

Musk countersued Twitter last week, accusing the company of fraud over his $44 billion acquisition plan, which he has now sought to void. His suit says that Twitter held back critical information and misled his team about the size of its user base. Musk alleges that Twitter committed fraud, breach of contract and violation of a securities law in Texas, where Musk lives. Musk has accused Twitter of having more “spam bots” and fake accounts than the company disclosed. Musk sold off about $8.5 billion worth of his shares in Austin-based automaker Tesla in the wake of announcing his Twitter plans.

Musk had said in the spring that he planned no major sales of his stake in Tesla after lining up financing to acquire Twitter, but Dan Ives, an industry analyst with Wedbush, said Wednesday that “the situation has dramatically changed.”

Wedbush raised its target price for shares of Twitter, “with the chances of a Twitter deal now more likely in our opinion and (Wall Street) seeing through this poker move by Musk,” Ives wrote to clients.

“We can also see Musk trying to resolve this powder keg situation before the Twitter deal officially heads to court in October,” Ives wrote. “At a minimum, we see Twitter getting a massive settlement from Musk in the $5 billion to $10 billion range that is starting to be factored into the stock.”

Musk, who moved to Texas in 2020, has expanded a number of his business interests in the Austin area in recent years.  Musk moved the headquarters of his tunneling and infrastructure firm, the Boring Company, to Central Texas, and relocated his private foundation to Austin. His aerospace company SpaceX, and his neurotechnology company Neuralink have also hinted at having Austin facilities in job postings.

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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