Reporter/Zhang Lingxiao & NBSP;
Editing by Gao Han & NBSP;
According to two new filings on the website of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on August 9, Musk, CEO of Tesla (TSLA, $850, $887.816 billion market cap), reduced his stake in Tesla by about 7.924 million shares between August 5 and August 9 Eastern time, The selling price range was $838.571 to $911.752 per share, for a total cash gain of about $6.9 billion.
After the sale, Mr. Musk's final direct stake in Tesla was 155 million shares, according to the filing.
This is the first time Musk has cut his stake in Twitter since he announced he was abandoning his bid, which he said was to avoid an emergency stock sale. Musk could lose his spot as the world's richest person by the end of next year based on investors expecting him to sell more Tesla shares by the end of 2022, according to a Bloomberg MLIV Pulse survey.
Mr. Musk responded to the Tesla stock sale on Twitter on the evening of Aug. 9, explaining that he was doing so to avoid an emergency sale in case some equity partners didn't agree to the sale when Twitter forced him to complete the deal.
When asked if he had completed the sale of Tesla shares, Musk answered in the affirmative. When asked if he would buy Tesla shares again if the Twitter deal doesn't go through, he said yes.
On August 6, Musk said on social media that he might go ahead with his plan to buy Twitter for $44 billion if Twitter can confirm some details about how it measures whether a user's account is a "bot or fake account" or a real person. But if it turns out that Twitter's SEC filings were materially false, he won't go ahead with the deal.
Gene Munster, managing partner at investment firm Loup Ventures, said before Musk explained his reasons for selling Tesla shares that he thought there was a 75% chance Musk would buy Twitter.
The announcement came after Musk pulled out of a $44 billion acquisition of Twitter, citing the company's violation of multiple acquisition terms. In an effort to force Musk to comply with the acquisition agreement, Twitter filed a lawsuit against Musk in Delaware Chancery Court on July 12.
Delaware Chancery Court Chief Judge Katherine McCormick has ordered a five-day fast-track trial of Twitter v. Musk to begin on October 17 to determine whether Musk can back out of the deal, according to reports.
On July 29, Musk filed a countersuit against Twitter, accusing the company of misleading his team about the true size of its user base and other issues that he said amounted to fraud and breach of contract.
The outcome of the legal battle between Musk and Twitter remains unclear.
The sale marks the first time Musk has cut his stake in Tesla since he announced he would not buy Twitter. It is also the second time Musk has sold Tesla shares since April, when he sold about 9.4 million shares.
Musk successively reduced his stake in Tesla from April 26 to 28 local time, including 4.415 million shares on April 26 and 27, totaling $3.99 billion; 28, reducing its holdings by 5.23 million shares to a total of $4.5 billion.
On April 29, Musk also said on social media that he has no plans to further reduce his stake in Tesla.
Since Musk had just announced a deal to buy Twitter, it was widely assumed that his divestment was an attempt to raise money for the acquisition.
Musk has sold more than $32 billion worth of Tesla stock in the past ten months.
Late last year, Mr. Musk cut his stake in Tesla for the first time in five years. Between November 8 and December 28, 2021, Musk sold a cumulative 15.7 million shares, or 92% of the planned sale, at an average price of $1,046 per share, for a total value of $16.429 billion.
Musk still owns 14.84% of Tesla, making him by far the largest shareholder.
Based on investors expecting Musk to sell more Tesla shares by the end of 2022, with or without the Twitter deal, Musk could lose his top spot by the end of next year, according to a Bloomberg MLIV Pulse survey.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Musk has a fortune of $250.2 billion, which puts him at the top of the index. Tesla's stock hit a historic high last year, helping Musk take over the top spot. But Tesla's wealth has fallen by $20bn this year as its share price has fallen from around $1,200 at the start of the year.
On August 5, local time, Tesla shares fell 6.6%, below the 200-day moving average. The stock closed down 2.44 percent at $850 on Aug. 9.