In a regulatory filing late Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that he had purchased a total of $25 million worth of TSLA stock in a public offering. Musk’s purchase was teased last week after Tesla announced that it was raising capital, which was followed by reports stating that the CEO was showing “preliminary interest” in increasing his stake on the electric car maker.
Monday’s filings revealed that Musk purchased 102,880 shares on May 2 at an effective price of $243.00, raising his total ownership of Tesla to 33,927,560 shares, or around 19.5% of the company. This is Musk’s first purchase of Tesla stock this year, his previous big purchase being $44.8 million worth of TSLA stock last year, at a time when the company was trading at $330.80 per share.
Tesla’s offering of 3,086,419 shares was priced at $243.00 each last week, though this number could be expanded up to 3,549,381 if underwriters use options to purchase additional shares. Tesla has also announced that it will be using the proceeds from the stock offering and the subsequent $1.60 billion (could be expanded to $1.84 billion) offering of senior notes to “further strengthen our balance sheet, as well as for general corporate purposes.”
Musk’s recent purchase of Tesla stock all but shows the CEO’s firm belief in the electric car maker, which has been facing headwinds in the market since the company released its lower-than-expected first-quarter vehicle delivery and production numbers. Tesla stock has tumbled around 23% year to date, while the S&P 500 has climbed 17%. Nevertheless, Tesla stock has been seeing some recovery since last week, on the heels of its capital raise and news of Elon Musk’s purchase of additional TSLA shares.
Tesla’s additional capital will give the company more runway as it attempts to roll out projects such as the Model Y SUV and the Tesla Semi, both of which are expected to start production in 2020. Other high-profile initiatives, such as the deployment of Full Self-Driving features and the setup of vehicle manufacturing lines at Gigafactory 3 in China, also stand to benefit from the company’s recent capital raise.
Tesla stock continues to be a battleground between the company’s supporters and critics. Just recently, Greenlight Capital founder David Einhorn, whose fund incurred losses of 34% in 2018, renewed his attacks against Elon Musk, calling the CEO’s vision for an autonomous ride-sharing service as “a lot of horse—t.” While speaking at the Sohn Investment Conference on Monday, Einhorn noted that “Napoleon once said, ‘Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake,’ so I won’t. Just watch the screen.”
On the other hand, Tesla has seen a vote of support from venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, an early investor in Facebook. During a segment on CNBC’s Halftime Report, which was filmed before Tesla filed for a capital raise, the venture capitalist defended the electric car maker, stating that “the people who short this company are so short-sighted because the number of companies that would come out of the woodwork. You don’t think that Apple with $200 billion of cash backstops this company and has a chance to enter a trillion dollar market overnight by buying that business if it gets imperiled in any way? Google which already tried to buy it wouldn’t try to buy it again?”