When it comes to cashing in on over-priced Tesla stock, there’s obviously something in the air.
Last week, we told you that German automaker Daimler, who had originally purchased just under ten percent of Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] back in spring 2009, had sold off its remaining Tesla stock last week for a massive $780 million in profit.
Now it appears Japanese automaker Toyota has followed suit, selling off at least some of its Tesla shares.
Like Daimler, Toyota’s original investment in Tesla totalled $50 million, but came a year later than Daimler’s original purchase of Tesla stock after a series of lengthy business meetings between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and then new Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda.
Similar to Daimler, Toyota’s investment in Toyota also secured a cooperation agreement in which Tesla agreed to provide Toyota with drivetrains and battery packs for its 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV. A compliance car designed and built specifically to satisfy California’s Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate, the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV featured a Tesla-designed and built drivetrain and battery pack, while the rest of the vehicle was produced by Toyota.
As a side note, the Toyota investment in Tesla back in 2010 also saw Tesla do something which we believe it has never done since: it gifted a brand-new 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5 to Akio Toyoda as a thank you for investing in the Silicon Valley firm.
At the time of writing, it’s not clear if Toyota has sold all of its stock in Tesla, but like Daimler, any sale of Tesla stock would net the Japanese automaker an impressive windfall. Toyota’s initial $50 million investment — believed to account for around a 2.5 percent stake in Tesla — might not be quite as large at Daimler’s original 9.x percent investment, but with Tesla shares currently trading at $235.24 it’s likely even a partial sale of Tesla stock has netted Toyota several hundred million dollars in profit.
Tesla’s market cap, for reference, currently stands at $29.32 billion.
Why the sale? As we said last week when we covered Daimler’s sale of Tesla stock, Tesla’s share price has been hugely overweight for some time. And while Tesla stock has experienced a slight upward trend over the past few days, it is substantially lower now than it was on September 12, when it hit a record high of $279.20.
With nearly $44 slashed off the value of Tesla shares in just over a month however, the chances are that Daimler and Toyota want to do what any good investor does: get out while the going is good.
What it doesn’t mean however, is that both companies are about to sever their ties with Tesla. While Daimler has already said it plans on continuing its working relationship with Tesla, relying on the California company to provide it with battery packs and drivetrains for its 2015 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric drive, Tesla CEO Elon Musk hinted earlier this year that Tesla could sign a new deal with Toyota in the next two to three years for development of plug-in car technology.
With so much Tesl stock sold however, we’re curious who purchased it. At the moment, there are only rumors — one suggesting BMW has stepped into Daimlers’ place — but nothing that we’re able to substantiate yet.
You can also support us directly as a monthly supporting member by visiting Patreon.com.