Elon Musk sells Tesla shares for $3.6 billion

by Maria Ponnezhath and Hyunjoo Jin

(Reuters) – Elon Musk has again sold $3.6 billion (3.39 billion euros) worth of Tesla shares, but his total sales this year were nearly $40 billion, while the company’s stock is at a two-year low.

The Tesla chief sold 22 million shares in the automaker in three days from Monday to Wednesday, a stock market filing shows.

This is his second biggest sale since the purchase of Twitter in October, when he assured in April that he would no longer sell Tesla shares.

It’s unclear whether the sales are linked to the Twitter acquisition, but they irked investors who feel it diverts attention and resources to Twitter at Tesla’s expense.

“It doesn’t give much credence to the company or say much about where Elon Musk’s attention is,” said Tony Sycamore, an analyst at IG Markets.

Tesla and Elon Musk did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Elon Musk’s stake in Tesla thus rose to 13.4% from 17% a year ago, according to Refinitiv data.

Tesla shares, up about 1% Thursday in early trading, have lost half their market value this year, underperforming both the U.S. automaker index and the Nasdaq, which has lost about 30% of its value this year.

Elon Musk said Tuesday: “Tesla will be great in the long run, but it doesn’t control the macroeconomic tides.”

(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bangalore and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco, with contributions by Tiyashi Datta and Akash Sriram in Bangalore and Tom Westbrook in Singapore; French version by Federica Mileo; Editing by Kate Entringer)

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