Elon Musk, who lost his No. 1 spot on Bloomberg’s ranking of the world’s richest people this week, unloaded Tesla stock for the fourth time this year.
Tesla’s CEO sold almost 22 million shares for $3.58 billion, a filing showed late Wednesday in the U.S. The transactions happened between Dec. 12 and Dec. 14.
Tesla shares have plunged 55 percent this year as investors grow increasingly concerned about Musk’s $44 billion Twitter purchase, adding to worries about rising interest rates making cars more expensive for consumers and demand issues in China, Tesla’s largest market after the U.S.
Over the weekend, Musk — who is eager to stoke engagement on the social-media platform he now owns — attacked a former Twitter executive and tweeted out conspiracy theories that have alarmed even his most long-time fans.
Musk tried for months to get out of the Twitter deal but failed. To raise enough cash for the purchase, he offloaded more than $15 billion in Tesla shares — about $8.5 billion in April, then another $6.9 billion in August.
In November, after vowing he was done selling, he unloaded another $3.95 billion stake.
Twitter has big new bills to pay.
Musk used significant amounts of borrowed money that now sits on Twitter’s balance sheet to help finance the acquisition. Twitter’s debt load has jumped to about $13 billion, up from $1.7 billion pre-deal, along with other types of bonds that could be converted into stock.
Twitter now faces annual interest payments approaching $1.2 billion — which could get even more expensive considering the interest rates on about half of that debt are not locked in and will rise with the market.
“At risk of stating obvious, beware of debt in turbulent macroeconomic conditions, especially when Fed keeps raising rates,” Musk tweeted this week.
Musk’s recent sales shrink his stake in the company to roughly 13 percent, according to Bloomberg data.
Musk, who has been Tesla’s CEO since 2008, is still the largest shareholder.
As of Wednesday’s close, he was worth $160.9 billion, ranking No. 2 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index after France’s Bernard Arnault.
His fortune has dropped $109.4 billion this year.