Musk asked his 122.1 million Twitter followers late Sunday if he should stepdown as CEO of the micro-blogging website, and promised to abide by the poll results – although he said there was no succession plan in place and cautioned those voting to be “careful what you wish for’.
Voting currently suggests around 57.5% of the 16.9 million ‘votes’ cast would like Musk to hand over control of the group to someone else. Musk closed his $44 billion purchase of Twitter in late October, and has been active on both the platform and in the company’s San Francisco headquarters ever since, managing a controversial series of layoffs, content rules and suspensions, including several prominent journalists whom he accused of tracking and reporting his location via the movements of his private jet.
Tesla shareholders, meanwhile, have grown increasingly impatient with Musk’s distraction — as well as his unannounced stock sales — amid the biggest peak-to-trough decline for the clean energy carmaker on record.
Over the weekend, Leo KoGuan, a Singapore-based billionaire and one of the largest single investors in Tesla, renewed his call for Musk to step down as Twitter CEO after accusing him of “abandoning” the clean-energy carmaker following his $44 billion purchase of the micro-blogging website earlier this fall.
“As his fanboy, I invested bc of Elon. Of course, I prefer Elon to be CEO but he abandoned Tesla” To be clear like (Tesla investor and Musk Supporter Gary Black), I wish Elon quickly finds new CEO of Twitter Gary and I want Elon to be the CEO and Technoking of Tesla full time,” KoGuan said.
Tesla shares were marked 4.6% higher in pre-market trading to indicate an opening bell price of $157.40 each, a move that would still leave the stock nursing a six-month decline of around 34%.
Short interest in Tesla shares remains elevated, as well, with bets around the group pegged at around $11.9 billion, according to recent data from S3 Partners, a figure that represents around 2.65% of the group’s outstanding shares.
Last week, Musk revealed he had sold another 22 million Tesla shares, raising around $3.6 billion and lifting his year-to-date sale total to around $40 billion.
“The Twitter nightmare continues as Musk uses Tesla as his own ATM machine to keep funding the red ink at Twitter which gets worse by the day as more advertisers flee the platform with controversy increasing driven by Musk,” said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. “When does it end?
“This remains the worry on the Tesla story as Musk has managed to change the narrative of Tesla from the fundamental EV transformation story to a ‘source of funds’ funding the Twitter turnaround which we believe will go down as the most overpaid tech acquisition in the history of M&A and remains a train wreck situation,” he added.