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Elon Musk says he's sold enough Tesla stock to meet 10% goal, after offloading another $548m shares

Business Insider US
"I sold enough stock to get to around 10%, plus the option exercise stuff," Elon Musk said.
PHILIP PACHECO/AFP via Getty Images
  • Elon Musk said he has sold enough Tesla stock to make good on his goal of selling 10% of his holdings.
  • The Tesla CEO offloaded another 583,611 shares worth $548 million on Tuesday, for a total of $14.1 billion.
  • "I sold enough stock to get to around 10%, plus the option exercise stuff," he said in an interview with The Babylon Bee.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Elon Musk said he's met his pledge to sell 10% of his Tesla stake.

He offloaded another 583,611 shares worth $548 million in the electric-vehicle maker on Tuesday, a securities filing showed, bringing his total sales since early November to about $14.1 billion.

"I sold enough stock to get to around 10%, plus the option-exercise stuff," he said in a Tuesday interview with satirical website The Babylon Bee.

Tesla CEO Musk has been on a stock-selling spree since asking Twitter on November 6 to vote on whether he should divest 10% of his stake.

In Tuesday's interview, he said he needed to exercise stock options expiring next year "no matter what," and that he sold an additional "incremental stock" to get to roughly 10%.

The billionaire, who in 2018 was awarded Tesla stock options that expire in August next year, faces a hefty tax bill from the withholding obligations that come when he exercises the options.

At the weekend, the world's richest man said he'll be paying more than $11 billion in taxes this year. His comment came after a spat with Senator Elizabeth Warren over how much tax he pays.

The Democratic Senator said the tax code must be changed so Musk "stops freeloading off everyone else." But the billionaire Tesla boss shot down her comments, saying he would be paying "more taxes than any American in history this year.

As Musk carried out sales in recent weeks, he also exercised about 19.2 million stock options at about $6.24 per share. The result is that he's actually boosted his stake in the EV-maker.

Tesla stock was up 4.2% at Tuesday's close at $938.53 per share, and was last up 1.6% in Wednesday's premarket session at $954.52 per share. The automaker's shares are up 33% so far this year.

Tuesday's divestment was made under a prearranged plan, called 10b5-1, to cover taxes on 2.08 million options exercised on the same day, the filing showed.

The Tesla boss has now sold 13.5 million shares, not quite hitting the 17 million shares many saw as fulfilling the 10% target. Out of the amount disposed of, 8.06 million were sold to cover taxes on exercising options.

Musk, who moved Tesla's headquarters from California to Texas in the last month, slammed the western US state for policies that encourage people to leave.

"California used to be the land of opportunity. And now it is becoming more so the land of over-regulation, over litigation, over-taxation," he said, adding it's "increasingly difficult to get things done."

Musk is the wealthiest person in the world with a net worth of $245 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. In Tuesday's interview, he said he doesn't think it's "productive or interesting" for people to know how much stock he's selling.


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