Daimler AG (DAI)’s investment vehicle that’s Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA)’s third-biggest shareholder pared its stake in the electric-car maker by shifting 40 percent of its Tesla holdings to an Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund.
Blackstar InvestCo LLC, the Daimler-affiliated investment vehicle, transferred 3.25 million Tesla shares to Aabar Investments PJSC, which is also a Daimler investor, according to a regulatory filing. Daimler’s Blackstar remains Tesla’s third- largest shareholder, behind Elon Musk, Tesla’s chief executive officer, and Fidelity Investments, after the transfer, Jeff Evanson, Tesla’s head of investor relations, said in a telephone interview today.
Daimler’s investment in Tesla and purchases of its battery packs and motors helped keep the Palo Alto, California-based company afloat after its 2008 cash crisis. Tesla, which last week began delivering the first versions of its battery-powered Model S luxury sedan, has said it’s signed an agreement to supply components for a new electric Mercedes-Benz model.
“We expect that Daimler is going to retain sole ownership of Blackstar and not sell any of their shares,” Evanson said. “We expect the Daimler investment will remain at 4.7 percent.”
Abu Dhabi Water & Electric, which had held 7.3 million shares at the end of 2011, has divested its Tesla holdings, he said.
Florian Martens, a Stuttgart, Germany-based spokesman for Daimler, confirmed the share transfer in a telephone interview.
“Daimler’s partnership with Tesla has developed very well and is long-term oriented,” Thomas Weber, Daimler’s development chief, said in a statement. “Both companies are leading players for electric mobility and continue to push ahead together in this field.”
The new Mercedes project with Tesla is for a B-Class small wagon, Martens said, without elaborating.
Tesla fell 2 percent to $33.11 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 16 percent this year.
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