Elon Musk sells another $690 million of Tesla stock after Twitter poll – Markets Insider

Tesla head Elon Musk talks to the press as he arrives to to have a look at the construction site of the new Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin
Tesla boss Elon Musk has rocked the company’s share price this week.

  • Elon Musk sold $690 million more Tesla stock on Thursday, according to filings released Friday.
  • It comes after he asked Twitter whether he should sell 10% of his stake in the $1 trillion company.
  • Musk sold around $5 billion of stock earlier in the week, in part to pay taxes on equity options.

Elon Musk has sold another $690 million of Tesla stock, days after asking his Twitter followers whether he should sell 10% of his holding in the electric carmaker, filings showed on Friday.

Earlier in the week, Musk sold around $5 billion of Tesla stock in a series of sales. One of the tranches of sales was pre-planned and carried out in order to pay taxes on stock options.

On Friday, SEC filings showed that Musk had offloaded another 640,000 shares at prices ranging from $1,056 to $1,104 on Thursday.

The sales came just under a week after Musk posted a Twitter poll asking whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock. Almost 58% of respondents said he should.

Musk tweeted on November 6: “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock. Do you support this? He added: “I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes.”

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However, Musk had previously said that he plans to sell stock before the end of the year, because he has a big block of stock options from 2012 that are set to expire.

Musk has a big incentive to exercise his stock options before they expire – given that Tesla’s share price has soared from around $6 in 2012 to more than $1,100 this week.

Yet analysts said Musk would probably face a tax bill north of $10 billion if he exercised the options. Given that Tesla doesn’t pay Musk a salary, he would then have to sell some of the shares to pay the taxes.

Musk has now sold around 5.1 million shares in Tesla this week. That means he’s still a way off selling 10% of his holding, which stood at 170.5 million in the third quarter, according to Bloomberg data, with stock options of more than 22 million.

The Tesla CEO held under 167.5 million shares in his trust after the sales on Friday. He bought and sold some shares on his personal account earlier in the week.

Tesla stock has tumbled 13% this week so far in the wake of Musk’s Twitter poll and share sales, closing at $1,063.51 on Thursday. The company was roughly flat in premarket trading at $1,063.38 on Friday.

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