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Elon Musk sells $4bn worth of Tesla shares after $44bn Twitter purchase

Elon Musk has sold almost $4bn worth of his shares in electric vehicle maker Tesla after he completed his $44bn purchase of social media platform Twitter, according to a report.

The world’s richest person unloaded 19.5 million shares in Tesla worth $3.95m, according to filings with financial regulatory body the Securities and Exchange Commission, says CNBC.

Mr Musk closed his protracted deal to buy Twitter last month, after spending months trying to back out of it claiming he had been misled about bot and spam accounts by the company’s board, before finally agreeing to go through with it. The purchase ended a Twitter lawsuit against him that had been set to go ahead in a Delaware court.

A week after purchasing the company, Mr Musk fired thousands of employees, saying that he had “no choice” as the company is losing $4m per day.

The mass layoffs came as Mr Musk admitted that “a number of major advertisers have stopped spending on Twitter” since his takeover, with firms such as GM, Audi and General Mills pausing their advertising after the takeover.

Mr Musk completed his purchase of the company on 27 October and immediately fired top executives including CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal and legal chief Vijaya Gadde.

Mr Musk agreed to buy the company for $54.20 a share in April, but by July had indicated that he had changed his mind, citing bot and spam issues. He renewed his attempt to acquire the company earlier in October.

On Tuesday Mr Musk’s personal wealth dropped below $200bn as investors sold off Tesla shares and is down around $90bn in 2022 to $179bn, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

He owns around 15 per cent of Tesla, a company which is now worth $622bn. Since he first bid for Twitter in April, Tesla’s market value has dropped by around half, according to Reuters.

At a conference last week, Mr Musk told hedge fund manager Ron Baron that his “workload went up from about, I don’t know 78 hours a week to probably 120” after he closed his deal for Twitter.

Mr Musk has sold around $15bn worth of Tesla stock, and in August, said that he was finished selling off shares to fund his purchase of Twitter, which he was still publicly trying to back out of at the time.

“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,” he tweeted.