Musk sells nearly $7 billion worth of Tesla stock amid Twitter battle

Photo: Ap

Elon Musk has sold nearly $7 billion worth of Tesla shares as the billionaire gets his finances in order ahead of his legal battle with Twitter.

In a series of filings with regulators, Musk said he disposed of some 8 million shares of his company Tesla Inc. in recent days. “In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal through and some financial partners fail, it’s important to avoid a catastrophic sale of Tesla stock,” Musk tweeted Tuesday night. Musk is by far the largest single shareholder in Tesla and Twitter.

Tesla shares rose nearly 2% ahead of the Wall Street opening bell on Wednesday. Those of Twitter Inc., which gained 16% last month, rose another 3%. Musk hit back at Twitter last week, accusing the company of fraud after it abandoned plans to buy the social network for $44 billion.

The businessman claims Twitter hid critical information and misled his team about its user base. Musk accuses Twitter of fraud, breach of contract and violation of a securities law in Texas, where Musk lives.

The billionaire offered to buy Twitter earlier this year but then backed down, saying the social network had more “spam bots” and fake accounts than the company disclosed. Musk said in the spring that he didn’t expect big sales of his Tesla stake after securing financing to acquire Twitter, but Dan Ives, industry analyst for Wedbush, said Wednesday that “the picture has changed dramatically.”

“We could also see Musk trying to resolve this powder keg situation before the Twitter deal officially goes to court in October,” Ives wrote. “At a minimum, we see Twitter getting a massive deal from Musk in the $5-10 billion range that is starting to show up in stocks.”

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