Elon Musk sells over $5 billion in Tesla stock following informal Twitter poll

After posting an informal poll on Twitter Saturday asking followers if he should sell 10 percent of his shares in Tesla, the company’s CEO Elon Musk sold the stock. As of Wednesday evening, he had sold nearly $5 billion in Tesla stock. 

Musk asked on Twitter: “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10 percent of my Tesla stock. Do you support this?” 57.9 percent of respondents answered “Yes” while 42.1 percent said “No.”

He also tweeted that he would “abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes,” but financial filings reveal that he knew some of his stock were for sale. Musk added, “Note, I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”

While Musk still holds over 166 million shares in Tesla, he sold nearly $5 billion, according to financial filings that were reported on Wednesday evening. In several trades carried out on Tuesday and Wednesday, his trust sold over 3.5 million shares totaling more than $3.88 billion. Those transactions were not scheduled sales as they were not marked 10b5.

Earlier on Wednesday, filings revealed that Musk is also selling a separate portion of Tesla shares through a plan that was set on September 14. Those sales account for over 930,000 shares totaling more than $1.1 billion.

Ken Griffin, Citadel CEO, said he personally did not want to see Musk let go of his shares. He commented at the DealBook Online Summit on Wednesday, “Individuals like Elon Musk, like Jeff Bezos have transformed life, and we want to keep them in control of their companies, as long as they’ve got the energy and the ambition to keep moving the business forward.” 




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