Musk sells Tesla shares worth $ 528 million as he pursues sale of 10% stake

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk unloads an additional 583,611 shares worth $ 528 million in the electric vehicle maker as he moves closer to his pledge to sell 10% of his stake in the electric vehicle pioneer amid criticism that he isn’t paying enough taxes.

Mr. Musk, the richest person in the world according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with $ 245 billion on Wednesday, has now sold about 13.5 million shares worth about $ 14.1 billion, according to regulatory documents. He’s now three-quarters of the way to meeting his pledge and needs to sell an additional 17 million shares to fulfill it, assuming that doesn’t include exercisable options.

The latest share sale comes after Mr. Musk sold 934,091 Tesla shares worth around $ 906.5 million. The move, however, cost the automaker its $ 1,000 billion market cap status, the first time it has gone below the bar since Oct. 25.

As of Wednesday morning, the market cap of California-based Tesla was nearly $ 917 billion.

On November 24, Mr. Musk sold 934,091 shares for $ 1.05 billion, after a few days of hiatus, while also exercising 2.15 million stock options.

The billionaire got rid of his shares in Tesla after taking a Twitter poll of his more than 67.2 million followers to see if he should sell part of his stake in the automaker.

Mr Musk first revealed his intention to sell shares at the 2021 code conference in September. That same month, he established a pre-arranged trading plan to effect “an orderly sale of shares linked to the exercise of stock options,” according to documents. The Twitter poll did not reveal the existence of this plan.

His offloading of shares comes as he opposes the US Democrats’ “billionaire tax”, which solicits contributions from America’s richest by taxing their “marketable assets”. The proposed tax is expected to help fund US President Joe Biden’s ambitious social policy and climate change legislation.

Last week, Mr Musk faced the wrath of US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who tweeted that he should pay taxes instead of “offloading everyone”. Mr. Musk replied that he “will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.”

On Monday, he tweeted that he would pay $ 11 billion in taxes in 2021.

Mr. Musk, a prolific tweeter whose posts notoriously move cryptocurrency stock prices and don’t always amuse regulators, even found time to joke about “quitting my job” amid his frenzy of sale of shares.

Time The magazine named Mr. Musk Personality of the Year on December 13.

Tesla posted its largest quarterly net profit, thanks to record shipments amid a global semiconductor shortage and supply chain disruptions in its fiscal third quarter ending in September

Profits jumped about 389% to $ 1.6 billion, nearly $ 1.3 billion more than revenue earned in the same period a year ago. It was the ninth consecutive profitable quarter and the second consecutive three-month period with more than $ 1 billion in profits for the company. Revenue rose 57% to nearly $ 13.8 billion, beating analysts’ expectations, the fourth time in a row it reported $ 10 billion or more in sales.

Updated: December 22, 2021, 7:33 AM

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