The chorus of
individual investors expressing misgivings that Chief Executive
‘s involvement with Twitter Inc. may be to the detriment of the electric-vehicle maker is getting louder, with the car company’s stock on track for its worst full-year performance.
“There is no TSLA CEO today,”
managing partner of the Future Fund LLC, which owns roughly $50 million worth of Tesla, tweeted Monday.
Mr. Black voiced frustration after another sharp selloff in Tesla’s stock Monday. Shares in the world’s largest car company by market value fell more than 6% in Monday trading after a tumultuous weekend for Mr. Musk on Twitter, including the billionaire taking aim at the company’s former head of trust and safety; calling for the prosecution of top U.S. government medical adviser Anthony Fauci; and criticizing people who offer their pronouns without being asked.
Mr. Black said, “The market voted today that the $TSLA brand has been negatively impacted by the Twitter drama. Where before EV buyers were proud to drive their Teslas to their friends or show off Teslas in their driveways, now the Twitter controversy is hurting Tesla’s brand equity.”
a longtime backer of Tesla, on Monday tweeted a question directed at Tesla’s board of directors. “Who is running tesla day to day during this critical time for the company,” Mr. Gerber said.
He separately tweeted, “There is nothing wrong at tesla at all. Other than the CEO working at another company, certainly tesla deserves a focused ceo. It would be helpful to know what Elon’s plans are.”
Mr. Musk, at a trial about his Tesla compensation package last month, said he had been spending most of his time of late focusing on Twitter, which he acquired for $44 billion. “I expect to reduce my time at Twitter and find somebody else to run Twitter over time,” he testified.
Tesla shares are down 54.31% this year through Tuesday’s close, putting it on pace for their worst year on record. The only other year where the shares fell was in 2016, when Tesla’s stock ended down 10.97%. The Nasdaq, which advanced Tuesday, has fallen around 28% this year.
Photos: How Elon Musk Made His Fortune
Tesla shares closed down 4.09% Tuesday, the day Mr. Musk ceded the unofficial title to European mogul
for the world’s wealthiest individual, according to Bloomberg, which publishes a ranking of the richest people.
Mr. Musk’s takeover of Twitter has raised anxiety among Tesla backers for months. Several urged the Tesla CEO to abandon the deal and focus on the car maker, when shares were already down around 30%. The stock has declined further in ensuing months amid growing recession concerns and cost pressure from high inflation. Tesla also has scaled back vehicle delivery plans. Tesla’s stock has fallen about 28% since the Twitter deal closed in late October through Tuesday, when it ended trading at its lowest level in more than two years.
The Tesla boss on Tuesday tweeted: “Tesla will be great long-term, but doesn’t control macroeconomic tides.” He later added “I will make sure Tesla shareholders benefit from Twitter long-term,” but didn’t offer details.
Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment. Mr. Musk last week said he continues to work on Tesla as well as SpaceX, formally known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp. “I continue to oversee both Tesla & SpaceX, but the teams there are so good that often little is needed from me,” he tweeted Saturday.
Bill Nelson, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s administrator, said Sunday that he had asked SpaceX President
if Mr. Musk’s purchase of the social-media platform would divert from the rocket company’s mission. Mr. Nelson said he was given assurance that wouldn’t be the case.
a self-proclaimed Tesla investor, last week tweeted: “Tesla board is missing in action” and called on the company to initiate a share buyback. Mr. Black also has been urging the company to pursue a $10 billion share repurchase.
Mr. Musk in October said Tesla could pursue a $5 billion to $10 billion share buyback and said some meaningful buyback was likely. The company had discussed such a share repurchase at the board level, but at the time hadn’t signed off on it. Mr. Musk has sold more than $19 billion in Tesla stock this year, including almost $4 billion in November to help finance Twitter.
Tesla’s brand image has taken a hit in recent months, according to market surveys. Self-identifying Democrats in particular have soured on the car maker since Mr. Musk bought Twitter, according to data from research firm Morning Consult.
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