Tesla CEO Elon Musk sold over 22 million shares of the company stock – a sale that is worth about $3.5 billion. It brings the total of Tesla stocks sold by Musk over the past year to almost $40 billion. The reason for the latest share sales has not been disclosed.
The move comes as Tesla investors raise concerns over Musk’s involvement with Twitter, which he recently took over after a controversial, and expensive, purchase. Investors say Musk’s involvement with the social media platform is disadvantageous to Tesla, arguments they back by pointing to the company’s stock price which is down 60.8% from January, and is on track for its worst full-year performance. At the end of last year, the company was worth more than $1tn but its value has slumped in recent months.
Musk completed the takeover of Twitter in October and since then has focused a significant amount of his time on the business. Musk sold billions of dollars worth of Tesla shares to help fund the purchase, which helped to push the shares down. The Twitter deal was only completed after months of legal tussle, and some have cited the distraction of the takeover as another factor behind Tesla’s share price fall.
Investors have also been concerned that demand for the company’s electric cars may slow down, as the economy weakens, higher borrowing costs discourage buyers and other companies boost their electric vehicle offerings.
This week Musk lost his position as the world’s richest person after a sharp drop in the value of his shares in Tesla this year and was overtaken by Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of luxury goods group LVMH.
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