Elon Musk sells another US$6.9 billion of Tesla shares amid Twitter battle

Elon Musk and Twitter
The social media platform is suing to get the billionaire to complete his takeover. Photo credit: Getty Images

Elon Musk has sold off another US$6.9 billion (NZ$10.8 billion) of his shares in Tesla amid his ongoing legal battle over control of Twitter.

The social media platform is suing the controversial billionaire to get him to complete his US$44 billion takeover he proposed earlier this year.

The extra money he has cashed out may be needed should Musk be forced to finalise the deal.

Despite initially fighting Musk's desire to own the company, Twitter eventually accepted the offer and is keen to see it completed.

Musk's desire, however, has dived. Soon after the offer was accepted he posted negative tweets about the company, including attacking individuals.

He then focussed on the number of spam accounts on the platform, ultimately citing his disbelief in Twitter's estimate that only five percent of accounts are bots as a reason to pull the plug.

Sawyer Merritt was one of the first to identify Musk's new billion dollar sell-off, tweeting that the controversial CEO had sold nearly eight million shares in the days leading up to August 9, 2022.

Musk replied directly to Merritt's next tweet, asking if he was finished selling his shares.

"Yes," he replied. "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," he replied.

He also said if the cash wasn't necessary, he would buy the shares back.

Musk, who is also CEO of SpaceX, may also have dropped an insight into his plans if he doesn't buy the platform.

In the same thread Musk was asked if he had thought about creating his own social media platform.

Musk simply replied: "http://X.com".

While the domain is accessible (and shows a single x on the page) it's not known if Musk owns it or whether it was intended a stand-in to his actual planned domain.

A whois lookup on x.com shows it is currently registered via GoDaddy.com but the registrant has withheld their details, instead using a company called Domains By Proxy to hide their name, address and other contact information.

Meanwhile, Musk's legal team has demanded Twitter share the names of the employees who calculated the level of bot and spam accounts so they can be questioned, according to Bloomberg.

The trial is due to begin on October 17, 2022 and both sides are in the discovery phase of the lawsuit.

The letter, filed under seal on Tuesday US time, said Musk's lawyers had asked the judge to hand over the employees' names, according to a source.