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Elon Musk just made $23 billion. Can he buy Twitter now?

SHARE Elon Musk just made $23 billion. Can he buy Twitter now?
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks before unveiling the Model Y in Hawthorne, Calif., on March 14, 2019.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks before unveiling the Model Y at the company’s design studio in Hawthorne, Calif. Musk is asking on Twitter whether he should sell 10% of his stock in the electric-vehicle company amid pressure in Washington to increase taxes on billionaires like him.

Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

Tesla CEO and world’s richest man Elon Musk looks set to add $23 billion to his personal wealth — reportedly already well north of $200 billion — after hitting a trio of performance goals following a booming sales quarter for the electric vehicle maker.

The big score comes just days after Musk put out an offer to buy social media giant Twitter for a cool $43 billion. But can the fresh cash help finance Musk’s latest pursuit?

Printing money: According to a Wednesday company earnings report, Tesla brought in nearly $19 billion in revenues in the first quarter of 2022, beating analysts’ estimates by over $1 billion.

Musk does not draw a salary as Tesla’s chief executive but is instead compensated (or not) when he hits the mark on performance metrics that were detailed in a 2018 pay package.

According to Reuters, Musk is eligible for the financial windfall after hitting milestones that group 2022 first quarter financials with the previous three quarters’ results. That combination has triggered the vesting of three tranches, or portions, of stock options that are worth about $23 billion at Tesla’s current stock value.

But the stock options come with a caveat built into Musk’s pay package: he’s prohibited from cashing out on the shares for a minimum of five years.

Where there’s a will: When Musk announced his bid for Twitter on April 14, he didn’t offer details on how he would cover the $43 billion offer, but a new filing reflects he’s found some friends with deep pockets to help put the deal together.

The Wall Street Journal reports Musk filed regulatory paperwork Thursday indicating he has lined up more than $25 billion in debt commitments from banks including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp. and some European and Asian banks, among others, about half of it secured by his shares in Tesla.

Musk is personally committing $21 billion in equity, according to the filing. Per the Post’s reporting, a person familiar with the matter said Musk is still considering bringing in an equity partner and has continued to receive inbound interest.

People familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal that Twitter is still likely to reject his bid as too low in the coming days, though the financing commitments could make the company more open to negotiating. Musk has previously said the $43 billion is his “best and final offer” and hinted he would sell his stake in Twitter if it were rejected.

How is Tesla doing so well? Demand for electric vehicles in the U.S. and around the world continues to explode and Tesla has positioned itself, at least for the time being, as the No. 1 electric vehicle manufacturer in the world.

Musk said Wednesday that Tesla should be able to produce 1.5 million vehicles this year, beating 2021 by 60%, according to CNN. Production at the company’s factory in Shanghai, which had been halted by coronavirus lockdowns, “is coming back with a vengeance,” he added.

All automakers are working to navigate rising costs and supply chain snarls. The price of metals they use in batteries, like nickel and lithium, jumped following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Shipping, energy and labor have also gotten more expensive. But, per CNN, Tesla has been able to offset higher costs by raising prices of its vehicles.

“It may seem like maybe we’re being unreasonable about increasing the prices of our vehicles given that we had record profitability this quarter, but the wait list for our vehicles is quite long,” Musk said.

So what’s a new Tesla going to cost you? Right now, the price of Tesla’s least expensive car, the Model 3, starts at just under $47,000, according to the Associated Press.