Tesla slides 5% after Elon Musk asks Twitter if he should sell stock


Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, stands in the foundry of the Tesla Gigafactory during a press event.

Patrick Pleul | picture alliance | Getty Images

According to financial filings out Wednesday, CEO Elon Musk is selling a block of Tesla shares via a plan that he set in motion on September 14 this year. The sales amount to more than 930,000 shares worth over $1.1 billion. He still holds more than 170 million shares.

Musk sold these shares in part to satisfy tax obligations related to an exercise of stock options.

Before the sale plan was made public, Elon Musk asked his 62.5 million Twitter followers to vote in an informal poll, telling them their vote would determine the future of his Tesla holdings. The filings reveal that, in fact, he knew some of his shares were slated for sale this week.

Following the Twitter poll, shares of Tesla slumped more 15% over Monday and Tuesday, before rebounding more than 4% on Wednesday.

Citadel CEO Ken Griffin, speaking at the DealBook Online Summit on Wednesday, said he personally did not want to see Musk sell. “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.”

Previously, Musk signaled that he was likely to sell “a huge block” of his options in the fourth quarter. At an appearance at the Code Conference in September, Musk said when his stock options expire at Tesla, his marginal tax rate would be over 50%.

Current and former board members including chairwoman Robyn Denholm, Elon Musk’s brother Kimbal Musk, Ira Ehrenpreis and Antonio Gracias have offloaded hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Tesla shares since Oct. 28 after Tesla’s market cap surpassed $1 trillion.

Among those insider sales, Kimbal Musk’s was the only transaction that was not listed as a 10b5, or planned sale. Kimbal Musk sold around $109 million worth of his shares a day ahead of his brother’s Twitter poll.

This is a developing story, please check back for updates.



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