UPDATED: Elon Musk this week reaped $8.4 billion through a series of stock sales of Tesla, the electric car company he heads, evidently as part of raising money for his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter.
Musk, , the world’s richest individual, sold more than 4.4 million shares of Tesla on April 26 and 27 at various prices of about $870-$1,000 per share, yielding around $4 billion. according to SEC insider transaction filings Thursday. Additional disclosures Friday showed that he sold another 5.4 million Telsa shares on April 28, for $4.4 billion. The stock sales came after Twitter announced that its board had accepted the billionaire’s $54.20/share bid. He still owns about 163 million Tesla shares, representing an ownership stake of about 16%.
On Thursday evening, Musk tweeted, “No further TSLA sales planned after today.”
The $46.5 billion in financing that Musk lined up for the Twitter takeover, including from banks led by Morgan Stanley, comprises $21 billion in cash, $13 billion in debt facilities and $12.5 billion in margin loans, the last of which are secured against Musk’s Tesla holdings.
Through Thursday, Tesla shares had fallen more than 23% since Musk first disclosed amassing a 9.2% stake in Twitter in early April. On Friday, after the stock sale disclosures, Tesla shares were up more than 4.5% as of 10:30 a.m. ET.
Last year, Musk sold more than $15 billion worth of Tesla stock, mainly to pay taxes on vested stock options that he exercised before they would have expired. Musk, who’s also the CEO of SpaceX, has a current net worth of about $260 billion, according to Forbes.
Musk has said he wants Twitter — which he called the “digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated”– to uphold principles of “free speech” and has accused Twitter of censoring conservative viewpoints. He also wants Twitter to move toward a subscription business model and has ideas for a variety of feature changes for the social network, such as authenticating all users and providing end-to-end encryption of direct messages “so no one can spy on or hack your messages.”
Over the course of about three weeks, Musk went from disclosing his significant stake in the company, which made him its largest single shareholder, to successfully securing the deal for Twitter — which really had no other options.
Under the terms of Musk’s deal with Twitter, if either side nixes the deal they would be required to pay a $1 billion breakup fee to the other party.