Mike Blake | Reuters
Tesla shares fell nearly 16% during what CEO Elon Musk called “very intense 7 days indeed‘ to one of his 108 million Twitter followers.
Shares of Tesla closed at $265.25 on Friday, September 30. At the close a week later, Tesla shares were trading at $223.07, down nearly 16%. It was the worst week for stocks since March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic began to sweep the US, bringing business and public life to a halt.
Over the weekend, Tesla reported production and delivery numbers for electric vehicles that fell short of analysts’ expectations.
On Monday, Musk continued to stir up a political firestorm by voicing his opinion on how he thinks Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine should be resolved.
Public records then revealed that Musk informed the Delaware Court of Chancery that he would complete the $44 billion acquisition. Twitter in October, a deal he had been trying to avoid for months.
Tesla deliveries and Artificial Intelligence Day
Analysts had expected Tesla to report deliveries of 364,660 cars for the period ending Sept. 30, 2022, according to estimates compiled by FactSet-owned Street Account.
But last weekend, Tesla reported deliveries of a total of 343,000 and production of 365,000 electric cars — even as it started production at two new plants in Brandenburg, Germany, and Austin, Texas.
Analysts have wondered whether Tesla now faces eroding demand in China, where it faces the strongest competition from BYD, the Warren Buffett-backed maker of lithium-ion batteries and electric vehicles.
Tesla also owned an engineering recruiting event late Friday last week, where he unveiled a rough, early prototype of a humanoid robot and talked about remaining challenges and progress in developing self-driving technology that could turn its cars into robotics with a software update.
The robot’s demonstration failed to impress industry insiders, but its potential won over some fans and bullish analysts.
On Monday, Musk published Twitter poll gauging support for what he says is a likely outcome of the seven-month conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
He proposed new votes under UN supervision in Ukraine on whether certain divisions of the besieged democratic nation should join Russia. He also proposed that Ukraine cede Crimea to Russia and then the nation remain “neutral” instead of joining NATO or Russia.
Kremlin praised Muskbut he drew sharp criticism from many others, including Ukrainian President Zelensky, Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrii Melnyk, South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham and an anti-Putin human rights activist and former chess champion Garry Kasparov.
Kasparov, who tried to block Putin’s rise to power and was jailed and beaten for his activism before fleeing the country, described Musk’s plan as a “repetition of Kremlin propaganda.”
The Twitter deal is back on
While Musk initially agreed to buy Twitter in April 2022, he spent months afterward accusing the company of lying about its user metrics in financial filings while fighting in court to back out of his proposed deal.
Twitter is suing Musk to make sure the deal goes ahead as promised, seeing a windfall for its shareholders. Facing a deposition this week and with a trial start date looming, Musk sent a letter to Twitter and a court this week saying he would still take the company private at a price of $54.20 per share. He wanted Twitter or the court to stop the case, and a judge gave him time October 28 to close the deal or switch to a trial.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO may have to sell another chunk of his Tesla stock to finance the Twitter acquisition. It will only be able to do so on or after Oct. 19, when the electric vehicle maker reports its third-quarter earnings.
In the upward direction…
Despite his volatile week, Musk at least scored a historic professional achievement at his reusable rocket venture, SpaceX. The company launched four people to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral, Florida on Wednesday.
The mission is SpaceX’s fifth operational crew launch for NASA to date and the company’s eighth human spaceflight in just over two years. One of the people who will fly with SpaceX on this latest mission is Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina.
Musk also boasted that the start of production had been delayed for years Tesla Semiheavy-duty all-electric truck, and promised that the company will deliver some of the trucks to Pepsi by December 1st.