A bumpy ride for Tesla investors as boss Elon Musk faces Twitter ousting after online poll stunt backfires
Tesla investors endured another bumpy ride yesterday after boss Elon Musk faced being ejected from the driving seat at Twitter.
Shares in the electric car maker were on a roller coaster throughout the day, eventually closing down 0.2 per cent as users of the social media site voted for the billionaire to quit in the wake of his chaotic takeover.
Tesla stock initially shot higher at the bell as hopes were raised that Musk might find a Twitter chief executive and focus more of his energy on the electric car company, not to mention his pantheon of other businesses including rocket firm SpaceX.
Voted out: Tesla founder Elon Musk (pictured) has sold nearly £20bn worth of the car company’s stock since April when he first tabled a takeover bid for Twitter
Yet the mood subsequently darkened on fears that the latest ‘bonkers’ episode in the mogul’s corporate career would continue to weigh on Tesla.
Analysts at Oppenheimer downgraded the stock, saying the negative sentiment could linger over the longer term.
That saw the car maker’s shares slam on the brakes and turn lower during the day.
Tesla’s value has already fallen by more than 50 per cent over the year to date. Musk has sold nearly £20billion worth of the car company’s stock since April when he first tabled a takeover bid for Twitter.
Its slide in value has seen him lose his position as the world’s richest person though he is still worth just under £130billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires’ Index.
Musk’s turbulent spell in charge of Twitter has seen him fire thousands of employees, reinstate banned users including Donald Trump and change his mind about how much to charge for subscription service Twitter Blue.
The latest backlash came after the site banned a number of journalists’ accounts, drawing condemnation from news organisations and campaigners.
In a Twitter poll – in which 17.5m users voted – 57.5 per cent said ‘yes’ to him stepping down. Musk had said earlier that he would abide by the result but not when he might step down were that the outcome.
Speculation suggested Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey – in what would be his third spell in charge – as a potential replacement with other names in the frame including former White House adviser Jared Kushner, ex-Facebook senior executive Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter ex-chairman Bret Taylor.
Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell, said: t seems a rather bonkers way of doing business but then Elon Musk has always coloured outside the lines.
‘His maverick nature is undoubtedly one of the attributes that has delivered him and his shareholders so much success over the years but sometimes that maverick status sits a little uncomfortably.
‘If he does as he’s promised and adheres to the result of his Twitter poll, he might actually have more time to concentrate on his core company.
‘But how much damage has already been done?’