Tesla shareholder T. Rowe Price Group Inc raised its stake in the electric car maker by nearly half in the July-September quarter, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday, an apparent vote of confidence for CEO Elon Musk.
A subsidiary of T. Rowe that manages the company’s mutual funds boosted its investment in Tesla to 10.2 percent during a tumultuous quarter for the Palo Alto, California-based car maker, shown by controversial tweets by Musk about taking the company private.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission took legal action against Musk for fraud over his tweets, and the incident clouded the firm’s better-than-expected quarterly results in early August, which lifted shares 16 percent in one session.
T. Rowe Price Associates held 17.4 million shares of Tesla at the end of last month, as per a filing with the SEC. It had reported it held 11.93 million shares, equivalent to 6.99 percent, at the end of the April-June quarter, according to information from Refinitiv.
Wall Street concerns that Musk’s statements on Twitter were distracting him from automaker’s main business also boosted during the quarter as the Tesla chief repeatedly tweeted abuse at a British cave diver associated in the rescue of 12 Thai children.
T. Rowe Price is one of the Tesla’s largest institutional shareholders, together with Edinburgh-based Baillie Gifford & Co and U.S. fund manager Fidelity.
A T. Rowe Price spokesman refused to discuss the company’s investment in Tesla.