Elon Musk Sold $4 Billion More Worth of Tesla Stock. The Timing Is Odd.
Investors were waiting for stock sales from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, guessing he needed to sell more shares to finish his Twitter purchase. He sold more stock, but it happened after the Twitter deal closed.
Musk disclosed the sale of 19.5 million shares of
(ticker: TSLA), or about $3.95 billion of it, in 38 separate transactions on Nov. 4, 7 and 8. He has been selling stock for the past three days, according to disclosure filings that posted on Tuesday.
Tesla stock is down about 11% over the past three days. The
is up almost 3% over the same span.
Musk’s sales actually help explain the Tesla stock drop—a little. Higher than average volume—buying or selling—can move a stock in either direction. About 319 million Tesla shares traded over the past 3 days. That is roughly 106 million shares a day, which is about 40% higher than the average daily trading volume over the past 30 days. Musk is only a small portion of that increase, but he represented about 6% of the total volume.
The cash raised by selling stock might have been needed to finish off paying for Twitter. The timing is a little off, however. The sales came after the Twitter deal closed in late October. Still, the sales could have been related to the Twitter purchase.
Perhaps banks floated a little more financing between deal closing and now. It’s hard to say. Musk didn’t respond to a request for comment via Tesla and Twitter.
Before the deal’s closing it looked as if Musk needed to sell another $5 billion to $10 billion of stock to finish the purchase—accounting for his prior stock sales, equity from third parties, debt and the need to pay off Twitter’s stock-based compensation. But no stock sales were disclosed in the run-up to the deal closing.
Musk sold about 17.6 million shares worth more than $15 billion in between April and August in connection with his Twitter purchase.
After the November sales, he has about 446 million shares of Tesla left, excluding his stock options. That is roughly 12% of Tesla’s stock outstanding.
Tesla shares might actually bounce after the sale as traders see selling pressure abating. Tesla stock actually rose about 2% in the few days following the Twitter deal closing on Oct. 27. The close should have signified the end of Musk’s need to sell stock to finance the deal.
Maybe Musk’s selling is done. It’s hard to say because the pattern of sales has been difficult to predict. Investors will just have to wait for Musk to say something.
If he does explain, it will probably be in a tweet.
shares fell 2.9% during Tuesday’s trading session and hit a new 52-week low. The
rose 0.6%. The
Dow Jones Industrial Average
The electric vehicle maker’s stock is down 45% this year.
Write to Karishma Vanjani at email@example.com.