Tesla Inc. shares sold by CEO Elon Musk for the fifth day in a row, raising his total sales following an unusual public poll to approximately $6.9 billion. The billionaire sold 1.2 million shares worth $1.2 billion on Friday, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. After asking his Twitter followers if he should sell 10% of his Tesla ownership, he sold $5.7 billion of stock earlier this week.
In New York, Tesla shares slid 2.8 percent on Friday to settle at $1,033.42 a share, bringing the weekly decline since March 2020 to more than 15 percent.
There were many reasons why the poll was controversial. Even before he consulted his massive social media following, Elon Musk pre-planned some of his transactions for this week, which were carried out this week. Amidst the ongoing discussion in the United States about whether billionaires are paying enough taxes and if capital gains taxes should be imposed on unrealized capital gains, Tesla CEO Elon Musk proposed a solution.
His weekend tweets didn’t disclose that Elon Musk has millions of stock options that expire in August 2022, which he must execute. “A significant block” of those options may be used by the end of the year, he said in September.
If his Twitter poll had any influence on his choice to carry out some or all of the transactions, and if he intends to keep selling until he reaches 10%, the documents revealing his sales this week do not shed any light on this. If he included exercisable options in his total holdings, he’d have to sell nearly 17 million shares to get there. He’s sold around 6.4 million shares of stock thus far.
On Twitter, one of Tesla’s most vociferous bulls has criticized Elon Musk’s sales strategy. Investment adviser The Future Fund LLC’s managing partner, Gary Black, has accused the CEO of wasting money by delaying the process.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Elon Musk, 50, is the world’s wealthiest individual with a net worth of approximately $285 billion.