Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk sold $6.9 billion worth of shares in the electric car maker, saying the funds could be used to finance a potential deal with Twitter if he loses a legal battle with the social media platform.
“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t accept it, it’s important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” he said on Twitter late Tuesday.
In early July, Musk pulled out of his April 25 agreement to buy Twitter for $44 billion. Twitter sued Musk to force him to complete the transaction, dismissing his claim that he was misled about the number of spam accounts on the social media platform as buyer’s remorse in the wake of the tech stock’s slump. The trial of the parties will take place on October 17, 2022.
“The Street will read this poker move that the chances of a Twitter deal are more likely,” Dan Ives, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, tweeted.
In other comments on Twitter on Tuesday, Musk said “yes” when asked if he was done selling Tesla stock, and said he would buy Tesla stock again if the Twitter deal didn’t go through.
Tesla did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
Musk, the world’s richest man, sold $8.5 billion worth of Tesla stock in April and said at the time that no further sales were planned. But legal experts have since suggested that if Musk is forced to complete the acquisition or settle the dispute with a stiff fine, he is likely to sell more Tesla stock.
Musk sold about 7.92 million shares between August 5, 2022 and August 9, 2022, according to multiple filings. He now owns 155.04 million Tesla shares, or just under 15% of the automaker, according to a Reuters count.
The latest sales bring Musk’s total Tesla stock sales to about $32 billion in less than a year.
Tesla shares rose nearly 15% after the automaker reported better-than-expected earnings on July 20, also helped by the Biden administration’s climate bill, which if passed would lift a cap on tax credits for electric cars.
On Tuesday, Musk also teased that he might start his own social media platform. Asked by a Twitter user if he had considered starting his own platform if the deal didn’t go through, he replied: “X.com.”