Elon Musk Sells $6.9 Billion in Tesla Shares Amid Legal Showdown Over Twitter Deal

Mega-billionaire Elon Musk sold share of Tesla worth about $6.9 billion on Aug. 5, according to regulatory filings. The tech mogul later tweeted that he raised the money in case Twitter wins its battle to force Musk to buy the social network for $44 billion.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” Musk tweeted about the stock sale on Monday night.

In April, Musk had sold about $8.4 billion in Tesla holdings, evidently to fund the Twitter buyout. At the time, he wrote that he had no more Tesla stock sales planned. On Monday, Musk said he would acquire shares in Tesla again if the Twitter deal doesn’t close. He now owns about 15% of the shares in Tesla.

Musk has questioned Twitter’s longstanding claim that spam and fake accounts are less than 5% of total active users — and had informed the company last month he was nixing the deal over Twitter’s alleged inability to prove the metric.

On July 12, Twitter filed a lawsuit against Musk, seeking to force the world’s richest individual to consummate his $44 billion acquisition deal for the company. Lawyers for Twitter argue that Musk is looking for an excuse to bow out of the agree-upon terms after his personal net worth fell with the drop-off in Tesla’s stock price. The Delaware Court of Chancery has set Oct. 17 for the start of a five-day trial.

Analysts say Twitter has the upper legal hand in the case.

“In late April Musk said no further TSLA sales planned, however the situation has dramatically changed in our opinion heading into Delaware Court this October with the odds stacked against Musk winning in the eyes of the Street and his back against the wall,” Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives wrote. He raised the price target on Twitter from $30 to $50/share “reflecting the higher chances the deal now ultimately closes.”

Musk may also try to settle the case before it officially heads to court in October. At a minimum, Twitter stands to get $5 billion-$10 billion from Musk, according to Ives’ estimates.

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