Elon Musk just sold $5.6 billion of Tesla shares. What’s the deal?

Elon Musk withdraws a boat load of cash from Tesla share sales this week…

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Key points

  • The Tesla share price traded lower after-hours after Elon Musk sold $5.6 billion worth of shares 
  • Musk's sale comes amid the entrepreneur's move to acquire social networking platform, Twitter 
  • Based on a tweet, Musk is not planning to sell more Tesla shares in the near-term 

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) shares moved lower again last night, taking their fall to 23% in the past 25 days.

The downtrend has persisted while Tesla co-founder Elon Musk has proceeded with his intentions to take over Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR). Adding fuel to fire, Musk sold down A$5.6 billion worth of Tesla shares across Wednesday and Thursday.

Buying a big birdy doesn’t come cheap

The board of social networking company Twitter agreed to a sizeable A$61.7 billion offer earlier in the week made by Elon Musk. Now, with the ink still wet, Musk is making sure he has the funds to make good on the deal.

According to filings made with the SEC, the avid Twitter user has disposed of around 4.4 million shares in Tesla this week. In the process, Musk has raised A$5.6 billion in cash that will likely be contributed to the US$21 billion cash component of the acquisition.

Tesla shareholders have shown some anxiousness in light of the deal. In addition to the share sales, another US$12.5 billion will be made available by investment banks through loans backed by Tesla shares.

In contrast, the news has brought plentiful gains to Twitter shareholders in the past month. During this time, the company’s shares have climbed 20.7% to its current US$49.11 level.

Will Twitter cause more Tesla shares to be sold?

Shortly after the Tesla filings were posted, Musk replied to a tweet that relayed the co-founder’s selling spree.

It appears further sales are not on Elon’s radar. Although, the more prevalent concern has been around the possibility of Musk being ‘margin called’ if the Tesla share price were to fall significantly. This would occur if the value of the shares being used to secure a loan to acquire Twitter became worth notably less than the initially loaned amount.

At present, Tesla shares are trading at US$877.51 apiece — 30% above where they were a year ago.

Motley Fool contributor Mitchell Lawler has positions in Tesla. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Tesla and Twitter. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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