Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently sold 7.92 million shares of the automaker worth about $6.9 billion, according to regulatory filings released Tuesday.
The share sale, which took place between August 5 and 9, comes amid a legal battle between Musk and Twitter, which the billionaire entrepreneur offered to buy for $44 billion earlier this year but has since informed Twitter that it is ending the deal. Musk acknowledged that the potential financial burden played a role in his decision to sell the shares.
“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t materialize, it’s important to avoid a rush to sell Tesla stock,” Musk said in a tweet Tuesday evening. He also wrote that he is done selling Tesla stock and will become a buyer again if the Tesla deal doesn’t close.
Musk said Twitter “tricked” him into signing a $44 billion deal to buy the social media platform and is trying to back out of the deal. Twitter responded in July with a lawsuit against Musk to enforce the merger agreement, arguing that the billionaire was trying to get out of acquiring the company because his personal wealth had declined and the purchase had become more expensive.
Musk denied Twitter’s claims and claimed that Twitter failed to provide him with information to confirm that less than 5% of Twitter’s more than 220 million daily users are focused on spam or fake, an important metric for understanding the Twitter’s advertising business. The billionaire claims Twitter misrepresented or omitted information that would have shed light on the company’s value.
Twitter and Musk are expected to go to court on October 17 if they do not reach a settlement. Twitter shareholders must vote on the deal at a special meeting on September 13.
Musk sold about $8.5 billion worth of Tesla stock in April after announcing his deal to buy Twitter. Tesla shares were trading at $1,145 when he announced his offer on Twitter. Since then, the stock price has fallen by more than 25%.