FILE - Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks before unveiling the Model Y at the company's design studio on March 14, 2019, in Hawthorne, Calif. Musk is selling about 8 million Tesla shares worth nearly $7 billion as the billionaire looks to get his finances in order ahead of his court battle with Twitter. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Elon Musk sells £5.8 billion in Tesla shares ahead of Twitter fight

Elon Musk has sold nearly seven billion US dollars (£5.8 billion) of shares in Tesla as the billionaire gets his finances in order ahead of his court battle with Twitter.

He has unloaded about eight million shares in recent days, a series of regulatory filings revealed.

“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,” Musk tweeted late on Tuesday.

Musk is by far the largest individual shareholder in Tesla and Twitter.

Shares of Tesla rose almost 2% before the opening bell on Wall Street on Wednesday.

Shares of Twitter, up 16% in the past month with most believing Musk faces long-shot odds of success in court, jumped another 3%.

Musk countersued Twitter last week, accusing the company of fraud over his aborted 44 billion dollar (£36.4 billion) acquisition.

He claimed Twitter held back critical information and misled his team about the size of its user base.

Musk alleges that Twitter committed fraud, breach of contract and violation of a securities law in Texas, where he lives.

Musk offered to buy Twitter earlier this year before trying to back out of the deal, claiming the social platform was infested with larger numbers of “spam bots” and fake accounts than Twitter had disclosed.

Elon Musk said in a tweet on Tuesday he is done selling Tesla shares
Elon Musk said in a tweet on Tuesday he is done selling Tesla shares (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Musk said in the spring that he planned no major sales of his stake in Tesla after lining up financing to acquire Twitter, but Dan Ives, an industry analyst with Wedbush, said on Wednesday that “the situation has dramatically changed”.

Wedbush raised its target price for shares of Twitter, “with the chances of a Twitter deal now more likely in our opinion and the Street seeing through this poker move by Musk,” Mr Ives wrote to clients.

“We can also see Musk trying to resolve this powder keg situation before the Twitter deal officially heads to court in October,” he wrote.

“At a minimum, we see Twitter getting a massive settlement from Musk in the five billion dollar (£4.1 billion) to 10 billion (£8.2 billion) range that is starting to be factored into the stock.”

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