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Musk Risks Investors’ Revolt As His Fortune, Tesla’s Value Decline Because of Twitter

Musk Risks Investors’ Revolt As His Fortune, Tesla’s Value Decline Because of Twitter

Last week, Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk dropped to second spot behind Bernard Arnault, CEO of French luxury brand LVMH, maker of Louis Vuitton luxury goods and Hennessy cognac, in Forbes’ list of “Real-Time Billionaires.”

The decline currently puts Musk’s net worth at $176.8 billion, below Arnault’s $188.6 billion, according to Forbes. It is a significant drop from Musk’s November 2021 $320 billion fortune record.

Though Forbes noted that Arnault’s leap to the number spot is as a result of LVMH’s stock being mostly flat this year, the key to his elevation is mainly tied to the collapse of Tesla stock. Tesla shares have seen more than 56% drop in 2022, a dramatic decline from its 2021 performance that shot Musk’s fortune way above others in the billionaires’ league. Above all, including supply chain disruption induced by China’s zero-Covid policy, which hampered electric vehicles’ deliveries, Tesla and Musk’s misfortune has been largely attributed to his Twitter adventure.

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“The Twitter nightmare continues as Musk uses Tesla as his own ATM machine to keep funding the red ink at Twitter which gets worse by the day as more advertisers flee the platform with controversy increasing driven by Musk,” wrote Dan Ives, analyst at Wedbush Securities. “When does it end? This remains the worry on the Tesla story as Musk has managed to change the narrative of Tesla from the fundamental EV transformation story to a ‘source of funds’ funding the Twitter turnaround which we believe will go down as the most overpaid tech acquisition in the history of merger and acquisitions and remains a train wreck situation.”

Musk threw $44 billion on Twitter acquisition, an overvalued bid he was forced through lawsuit to close in October. He made his first sales of Tesla stock early November, selling 19.5 million shares to fund the Twitter acquisition. On Thursday, Musk sold another 22 million shares of Tesla; worth $3.6 billion – which he intends to use to fund the loan interest and upcoming payments due for Twitter or potential restructure of loan. The total stock sold by Musk since April when he moved to buy Twitter now stands at $22.9 billion.

Twitter stock has been on decline since Musk got himself entangled in the acquisition deal. Also, the social media company has faced apathy since he took over and began to implement some changes that will form Twitter 2.0. Advertisers left the platform as concerns mount over the direction it’s heading under Musk. He said that Twitter had “a massive drop in revenue” due to the advertiser losses.

But the greatest loser has been Tesla. The world leading EV company, having been starved of Musk’s attention as he micromanages his newly-purchased social media platform, has lost more than half of its value this year and is poised to lose more.

“Musk is the heart and lungs of Tesla, but his attention is solely focused on Twitter, and that and selling stock on a continual basis is not a good combination for Tesla,” Ives told CNN. “While 20% of the Tesla stock decline is due to concerns about demand and growing EV competition, 80% is because of his focus on Twitter. Twitter needs to have a CEO who’s not Musk.”

Besides this, uptick in production by rival companies has stoked competition in the electric vehicles’ market, challenging Tesla’s leadership. Tesla shareholders are increasingly worried that Musk’s focus on Twitter will further harm the company, and they are likely going to confront him on the issues soon.

“The nightmare of Musk owning Twitter has been an episode out of the Twilight Zone… a train wreck situation… We believe… more activism and growing investor frustration will force the Board of Tesla to confront some of these issues head on,” Wedbush wrote in a note.

With Tesla stock recording further decline this week, investors are concerned about the speed of the crumbling, calling it a “shocker given the fundamentals.” On Thursday, an investor tweeted: “Elon is digging his own and our graves.” Investors who have been bullish are now worried that Musk’s continuous sale of Twitter shares will hurt their expectation.

“While we remain bullish on the long term thesis for Tesla and believe the stock is oversold, Musk continues to throw gasoline in the burning fire around the Tesla story by selling more stock and creating Tesla brand deterioration through his actions on Twitter – Board needs to act,” Ives said.

But Musk said Wednesday he will make sure Tesla shareholders benefit from Twitter long-term.

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