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Elon Musk offloads another $3.6bn of Tesla stock

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Elon Musk has offloaded another tranche of Tesla stock, worth almost $3.6bn, in a move that risks further irritating already frustrated shareholders in the electric vehicle group.

The billionaire, who took over the social media company in October, has sold four tranches of shares worth a total of almost $23bn since announcing his takeover of Twitter.

It is the third sale since declaring in April there would be “no further TSLA sales” to support the deal.

This latest sell-off, which according to a filing took place between Monday and Wednesday this week, amounted to 22mn shares in the electric vehicle group.

No reason was given for the sale. Musk could not be reached for comment on Wednesday evening.

Musk arranged to finance the Twitter purchase with $12.7bn of bank debt and also announced $7bn of equity commitments from other investors this year, implying he would be on the hook for more than $24bn of the purchase price.

On Tuesday, Musk tweeted: “At risk of stating obvious, beware of debt in turbulent macroeconomic conditions, especially when Fed keeps raising rates.”

The sale comes as investors displayed frustration over Tesla’s future under the stewardship of what some consider to be a highly distracted chief executive.

Tesla’s share price is down 61 per cent since the start of the year, underperforming rival car groups such as Ford or General Motors.

“Elon abandoned Tesla and Tesla has no working CEO,” wrote Leo KoGuan, a major Tesla shareholder, on Twitter.

“Are we merely Elon’s foolish bag holders?” he added in another post. “An executioner, Tim Cook-like is needed, not Elon.”

Musk appeared to try to address concerns on Twitter, writing on Tuesday: “I will make sure Tesla shareholders benefit from Twitter long-term.”

But such proclamations are overshadowed by the controversy surrounding the management of the volatile social network.

On Wednesday, Twitter suspended an account that had been sharing publicly available data on the movements of Musk’s private jet. The existence of the account had previously been cited by Musk as evidence that he would not put his own interests ahead of his supposed “free speech” principles in running Twitter.

Musk said on Wednesday that the account was putting his family at risk, announcing a change in Twitter policy regarding the disclosure of locations.

“Any account doxxing real-time location info of anyone will be suspended, as it is a physical safety violation,” Musk wrote on Twitter, referencing the phrase typically used to describe the malicious publishing of person’s private details, such as a home address.

The falling Tesla share price has been severe enough to see Musk lose his coveted position as the world’s richest man, falling to the number two spot behind beauty magnate Bernard Arnault, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranking.

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