Tesla CEO Elon Musk sold more than 20 million shares of the company between Monday and Wednesday. The sale is worth about $3.5 billion, according to regulatory filings. Musk’s latest stock drop follows nearly $4 billion worth of shares he sold last month.
Musk hasn’t publicly given a reason for selling shares this time, even if he’s done for today. In April, he sold $8.5 billion worth of Tesla stock, and in August, Musk put down another $7 billion.
After Wednesday’s stock sale, Musk has about $66 billion worth of Tesla stock.
The sell-off comes as Tesla investors raise concerns about Musk’s involvement in Twitter, which the CEO recently took over after a controversial and expensive acquisition. Investors say Musk’s involvement in the social media platform is bad for Tesla, and they back up their arguments by pointing to the company’s share price. Tesla shares, which traded at $156.80 in after-hours trading on Wednesday, have fallen 60.8% since January and are on track for their worst performance of the year.
Some analysts have speculated that today’s stock selloff is Musk’s response to some of the high-interest debt he is paying on his $44 billion Twitter deal. Twitter assumed $13 billion in debt as part of the deal, including about $3 billion in unsecured debt, on which Twitter pays an 11.75 percent interest rate.
Investors say the sale doesn’t appear to have been planned, and it’s unclear whether Musk is done with the sale. Still, Musk only has until Friday to sell more shares before Tesla goes into a quiet period until the end of the quarter. Some investors have expressed frustration that Musk has been unpredictable when it comes to selling shares. He said years ago that he would not sell the shares. When he returned to it earlier this year, Musk said he was done selling. But then, seeing him break, he continues and puts the stock down three times again.
The stock sell-off also comes as some of Tesla’s most die-hard investors are asking Musk and the board to consider share buybacks as the company’s share price continues to slide. Musk said during Tesla’s third-quarter earnings call that the company will likely do a buyback next year, possibly between $5 billion and $10 billion.
Musk’s latest drop in shares came on the same day the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate to a range between 4.25% and 4.5%. Stock prices often fall when interest rates rise, so Musk may have been selling in anticipation of Tesla stock losing more value in the coming weeks.