Musk cashes out another $3.6 bln in Tesla stock


Musk cashes out another $3.6 bln in Tesla stock


Tesla boss Elon Musk has disclosed another $3.6b in stock sales, taking his total near $40b this year and frustrating investors as the company’s shares wallow at two-year lows.

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

The sale was the second big chunk of stock he cashed out since his $44b purchase of Twitter in October.

It was not clear if the sales were related to the Twitter acquisition, but they were annoying investors upset by a perception he was 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 percent stake in Tesla was down from about 17 percent a year ago, according to Refinitiv data.

Tesla’s stock price halved this year, underperforming both automakers and the broader tech-heavy Nasdaq , which was down about 30 percent this year. The value of Musk’s total selling over the past year came to nearly $40b.

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

Spread thin

Musk’s fortune, mostly tied up in Tesla shares, had 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, was grappling with lingering logistics challenges and said in October it expected to miss this year’s vehicle delivery target.

It was more profitable than rivals who had struggled to make money from selling electric cars.

The latest share sale came a month after Musk sold shares worth $4b 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.”