Elon Musk exercised options and sold more Tesla Inc. shares, continuing a streak of sales that helped tank the stock last week by the most since March 2020.
The world’s richest person offloaded more than 934,000 shares on Monday for about $930 million, regulatory filings unveiled. That adds to the $6.9 billion he already sold last week, just after he took an unusual Twitter poll asking whether he should dispose of 10% of his Tesla stake. The sales were to help pay taxes on the exercise of 2.1 million options.
Musk’s survey and sales came as the U.S. debates whether the rich are paying enough taxes. In a weekend tweet, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said “We must demand that the extremely wealthy pay their fair share,” to which the Tesla boss replied, “Want me to sell more stock, Bernie? Just say the word…”
Some of the stock sales were part of a pre-arranged trading plan established in September. The Tesla chief executive officer has millions of stock options he needs to exercise before next August, something he didn’t disclose in the survey. Back in September, he mentioned he was likely to exercise “a huge block” of them toward the end of the year.
To meet the 10% threshold he gave in the survey, Musk would need to sell some 17 million Tesla shares. Including his exercisable options, he’d need to sell even more.
With a $279.3 billion fortune, Musk is far richer than anyone else in the world. Despite Tesla’s plunge in recent days, the stock has added 44% this year and his fortune has increased by $109.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.