Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and the world’s richest person, asked his 62.8 million Twitter followers over the weekend whether he should sell $21bn (£15.5bn) worth of shares in the electric car company to pay tax. Tweeting he would “abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes”, 58% of those who responded said “yes”, he should sell the shares, sending Tesla’s share price down 5% in pre-market trading on Monday.
Musk, who is sitting on a paper fortune of more than $338bn in Tesla and Space-X shares, proposed selling 10% of his Tesla shares to generate enough money to pay a proposed “billionaires tax” on “unrealised capital gains”.
He said that as he did not “take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere” the only way for him to “pay taxes personally” was to sell stock. Musk tweeted he would abide by the result said was “prepared to accept either outcome”. He did.
For the first time since 2016, Musk sold his shares worth $5bn amounting to roughly 3% of his stake. About $4bn worth of the sale – 3.6m shares – could be considered as counting towards his 10% pledge on Twitter. Another $1.1bn worth, amounting to 934,000 shares, was sold under an options arrangement to acquire nearly 2.2m shares there was already in train before the poll, according to online casino au.
Shares in the electric vehicle manufacturer make up the vast part of his estimated $281.6bn fortune, according to Forbes.
Investors downplayed the significance of Musk’s trading for the stock’s outlook, pointing instead to strong car orders and Musk’s professed faith in the company, though brokers said it could be a bumpy day in U.S. trade ahead.
“It is not like he has a negative view of his company,” said Dave Wang, a portfolio manager at UBS Global Wealth Management in Singapore.
But the stock sank 12% on Tuesday in its multi-day selloff that endangered the company’s position in the $1tn club. It recovered 4.3% on Wednesday.
If Musk carried out the 10% stock sale plan, it would be a slight negative near term, said Mark Arnold, chief investment officer at Hyperion Asset Management in Brisbane where Tesla is the top holding in its global fund, with casino en ligne francais backing it.
“But the stock is pretty liquid and it’s not a huge percentage of total issued shares, so it shouldn’t have that much of an impact … we’re quite comfortable with the outlook for the business,” he said.
However, despite the sales, Tesla shares rose in trading on the Frankfurt bourse on Thursday. Telsa’s Frankfurt-listed shares rose 4.1% to 953 euros ($1,102.05) in early trade to recoup some of the heavy losses suffered earlier in the week, during the period when Musk had sold.