Musk promises to stop selling Tesla stock for the next two years

(Bloomberg) — Elon Musk has said he has no plans to sell any more Tesla Inc. stock for two years, having dumped nearly $40 billion of stock this year, mostly to finance his purchase of Twitter Inc.

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While Tesla’s CEO has made such proclamations before, only to then sell more shares, Musk’s comments on a Twitter Spaces audio conference last Thursday sent the automaker up as much as 3.5% in aftermarket trading. . If these gains hold up in regular trading on Friday, shares could break a five-day losing streak.

“I’m not selling stock until — I don’t know — probably two years from now, definitely not next year under any circumstances, and probably not next year,” Musk said in response to a question from longtime investor Ross Gerber, who challenged the leadership of the Tesla CEO on Wednesday.

The EV maker faced a tough end to the year, not the “epic” one Musk had predicted. Tesla has cut prices and reduced production in China, and Musk has repeatedly criticized the Federal Reserve for raising interest rates. His sometimes conspiratorial and often politically charged tweets have also turned off some consumers. To boost year-end sales in the United States, the automaker has turned to generous incentives.

“Worst Case Scenario”

Tesla’s market value fell in recent trading below the half-trillion dollar mark for the first time since November 2020. The plunge has accompanied its repeated stock dumping, despite earlier pledges to the contrary. Musk explained that he raised that cash from stock sales to prepare for an unspecified “worst-case scenario,” adding that he reflected his fears of him having lived through two major recessions.

In an expansive conversation on Twitter Spaces, the billionaire and Twitter CEO said he welcomes a Tesla stock buyback once the company is more confident in the direction of the economy amid growing concerns about another recession. And Musk has dismissed criticisms that he’s spending too much time on Twitter and not enough time on Tesla.

“There’s not a single major Tesla meeting that I’ve missed in all this time, so it’s not like I’m totally missing out on action,” he said, adding that Tesla is many times more complex than the social media company.

Musk also said he plans to start producing a “significant volume” of lithium within two years at a refinery under construction in Texas for use in Tesla’s EV batteries.

–With assistance from Dana Hull and Craig Trudell.

(Updates with comments from Musk in third paragraph)

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