Musk sells Tesla shares worth $8.5 billion ahead of Twitter takeover – Metro US

Musk sells Tesla shares worth $8.5 billion ahead of Twitter takeover

FILE PHOTO: Founder and CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk
FILE PHOTO: Founder and CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk speaks during a media tour of the Tesla Gigafactory, which will produce batteries for the electric carmaker, in Sparks, Nevada, U.S. July 26, 2016. REUTERS/James Glover II

(Reuters) -Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk sold $8.5 billion worth of shares in the electric vehicle maker, U.S. securities filings showed, in sales likely aimed at helping finance his planned purchase of Twitter Inc.

Musk said in a tweet on Thursday that there are “no further TSLA sales planned after today”. He sold about 9.6 million shares this week, according to the filings on Thursday and Friday, equating to 5.6% of his stake in the company.

It was not clear whether all of Musk’s recent Tesla share sales were reported. Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The sale came after Musk on Monday clinched a deal to buy Twitter for $44 billion in 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 $268 billion, according to Forbes.

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

It was not immediately clear how the billionaire would raise the remaining $12.5 billion of equity financing. Musk holds a 43.61% stake in unlisted rocket company SpaceX, which is reportedly valued at $100 billion.

Tesla shares rose about 5% in morning trading on Friday.

They have tumbled about 20% since Musk’s disclosure of a more than 9% stake in Twitter on April 4.

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 is far from certain such a partner will emerge.

This is his first Tesla stock sale since he offloaded $16.4 billion 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 $11 billion 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 $21 billion cash contribution and could walk away from the deal, weighing on Twitter shares.

As part of the Twitter financing deal, Musk secured commitments for $13 billion in loans secured against Twitter and a $12.5 billion margin loan tied to his Tesla stock.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco, Akriti Sharma and Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Jamie Freed and Anil D’Silva)