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Elon Musk has sold 3 per cent of his Tesla holdings worth $5bn (£3.7bn), according to filings reported on Wednesday.
More than 3.5 million shares worth more than $3.88 billion were sold by Musk’s trust and those transactions were not marked as 10b5, (in other words, those sales were not scheduled), NBC reported.
This move comes just days after the Tesla chief executive asked Twitter whether he should sell 10 per cent of his Tesla stock, with 57.9 per cent out of 3.5m voting in favour of the sale.
The 50-year-old’s Tesla holdings make up the vast part of his estimated $281.6 billion fortune as the world’s richest man, according to Forbes.
Meanwhile, Musk also sold 934,000 shares worth $1.1bn, under an options arrangement to acquire nearly 2.2m shares, according to filings.
These particular sales were set up back in September, Reuters reported – two months before Musk posted his Twitter poll.
Regulatory filings state the sales were part of a trading plan that allows corporate insiders to establish preplanned transactions on a schedule.
Money made from the sales – Musk’s first sale since 2016 – will cover the tax bill on stock options given to the billionaire in September.
It hasn’t been confirmed if the sales are directly related to Musk’s Twitter poll, nor has Musk spoken about any sales since posting the online vote.
After this, Musk still holds more than 166 million shares, so it’s fair to say he’s got plenty left.
The billionaire’s poll on Saturday, November 6 ended up with the majority voting in favour of Musk selling 10 per cent of his stock.
As a result, Tesla’s stock price dropped by 12 per cent, almost jeopardising the company’s 1tn market valuation. But it recovered 4.3 per cent on Wednesday.
Asking for people’s thoughts last week, Musk tweeted: “Much is made lately of unrealised gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock.”
“I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes,” he added.
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? — Elon Musk (@Elon Musk)
He further explained: “I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”
Despite the initial fall after the poll, Tesla is now up more than 51 per cent in 2021, which can largely be attributed to news of an agreement to sell 100,000 vehicles to rental car company Hertz.