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Tesla Stock: TSLA's (Former) Biggest Bull Cuts Position 40%

Tesla's formerly largest external shareholder trimmed their stake in TSLA stock by 40% in the first quarter of 2021.

One of Tesla's biggest institutional investors has significantly reduced their stake in TSLA stock in the first quarter, per a quarterly filing posted on Thursday.

Scottish investment firm Baillie Gifford, formerly Tesla's largest external shareholder and manager of $178 billion in assets, sold more than $6 billion of TSLA stock in Q1. The firm ended the quarter with 16.2 million shares, down 40% from 27.3 million shares to start the quarter.

This is not the first significant sale from Baillie Gifford.

At the end of last year's first quarter, Baillie Gifford held just over 60 million shares (split-adjusted) of Tesla stock. Despite selling nearly 75% of those shares over the last year, the value of Baillie Gifford's TSLA position has still risen thanks to a 500% increase in the stock.

Valued at $10.8B at quarter end, the firm's position in TSLA remained their largest holding at just over 6% of assets under management.

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Baillie Gifford partner and portfolio manager James Anderson offered some insight to the firm's decisions after a previous reduction in TSLA stake last year. "The substantial increase in Tesla’s share price means that we needed to reduce our holding in order to reflect concentration guidelines which restrict the weight of a single stock in clients’ portfolios," Anderson said at the time.

"However, we intend to remain significant shareholders for many years ahead. We remain very optimistic about the future of the company. Tesla no longer faces any difficulty in raising capital at scale from outside sources but should there be serious setbacks in the share price we would welcome the opportunity to once again increase our shareholding."

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Disclosure: Rob Maurer is long TSLA stock and derivatives.