Elon Musk is fueling the Twitter fire and using Tesla as his personal ATM, experts say. Here are 5 criticisms of the CEO from the past week alone
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk sold an additional $3.6 billion shares in this — a move that sparked a big response from investors and analysts alike.
- "We're getting frustrated here," said and Tesla investor Danny Moses, best known for his portrayal in "The Big Short."
Tesla CEO Elon Musk this week cashed in billions of dollars worth of shares, bringing his total to roughly $40 billion in just over a year. The latest sale unleashed backlash amongst investors and market experts who think Musk is hurting Tesla in service of newly acquired Twitter.
Meanwhile, Tesla's stock price tumbled more than 15% over the week amid a growing view that Twitter is becoming a distraction, and as the broader market declined sharply on fears of a prolonged Fed-tightening cycle. The latest leg down brought Tesla's year-to-date loss to nearly 60%.
Here are some of the reactions after Musk offloaded more Tesla stock:
1. "Elon abandoned Tesla and Tesla has no working CEO," Leo KoGuan, Tesla's third-largest individual shareholder, wrote to his 47,000 followers on Twitter. A self-described "fanboy" of Musk's, KoGuan has amassed a position in Tesla worth more than $3 billion.
KoGuan said he wants an operational executive similar to Tim Cook at Apple should take the reins at Tesla. "Elon is a mere hired hands. He is our employee... Elon was the proud father, Tesla has grown up... An executioner, Tim Cook-like is needed, not Elon," he tweeted.
2. "The Twitter nightmare continues as Musk uses Tesla as his own ATM machine to keep funding the red ink at Twitter," Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note to clients.
Ives said he sees Tesla stock as oversold. Nevertheless, "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," said Ives who kicked Tesla off Wedbush's "Best Ideas" list in November.
3. "We're getting frustrated here because his attention span is being compromised," said 'Big Short' investor Danny Moses on CNBC.
Tesla's stock is about Musk's brand, and that's being damaged with the sideshow at Twitter, said the Moses Ventures founder who has shorted the EV maker's stock.
4. "Elon is Tesla's brand. He needs to pull it together." Those words came from veteran Wall Street analyst Gene Munster at Loup Capital in a CNBC interview.
Munster said people he's spoken to have expressed hesitation at buying Tesla's vehicles, which he sees stemming from Musk's diminishing image as his moves at Twitter become increasingly controversial.
5. Musk's decision to sell more Tesla shares is "another frustrating move," senior investment analyst Susannah Streeter at Hargreaves Lansdown told Reuters. She pointed out that Musk said in April there were no further plans to sell Tesla stock. Shares of Tesla hit a tw0-year low this week.
"I think there is a real concern that obviously with so much on his plate, Elon Musk is not giving Tesla the attention it deserves," Streeter said. There are also "real worries about whether Tesla could lose its ground as one of the key EV makers across the world because there are plenty of competitors nipping at its heels," she said.
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