Tesla Investors Plead With Musk for a Buyback to Perk Up Stock

Two years ago this month, Tesla fans learned the electric-car maker’s shares were joining the S&P 500 Index, and Elon Musk was turning retail investors into Teslanaires.

Lately, some of the same supporters are griping and engaging in gallows humor about the U-turn the stock has done since then. It more than tripled within a year, only to then relinquish virtually all those gains, with significant damage being done by what looks thus far to be an ill-fated acquisition by Musk of Twitter.

On Monday, after Tesla slumped to a two-year low, more than 8,600 users of the platform that’s been preoccupying Musk for weeks tuned into a Twitter Spaces conversation that the host titled “$TSLA Bagholder Therapy.” Many have complained about the CEO dumping his stock and are asking for a share buyback.

“This is up to the Tesla board,” Musk responded to one such request last week. He said during an earnings call last month that the board generally thought a buyback made sense and that something on the order of $5 billion to $10 billion was possible.

Authorizing a buyback would be a show of confidence on the part of Tesla’s board that the stock is undervalued. Musk, who’s not been shy in the past about talking down the share price, was wildly bullish about its potential during the latest earnings call, saying he saw potential for Tesla to be worth more than Apple and Saudi Aramco combined. He undercut those comments three weeks later by selling another $3.95 billion batch of his stock, bringing the total he’d disposed of in the past year to about $36 billion.