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Written by: Leonard Parker | Houston Business News | 29th December
Texas’ resident tech billionaire Elon Musk sold off another huge chunk of his stock holdings this week to the tune of $1 billion in Tesla (TSLA) shares.
On Tuesday, the now Austin-based Tesla CEO exercised options to buy 1.6 million shares of Tesla stock at $6.25 per share per a compensation package agreed upon in 2012, and then sold 934,090 shares for about $1 billion, according to CNBC.
The recent sale seemed to put him closer to the goal of selling off 10 percent of his stake in Tesla, a decision he left to the mercy of his more than 60 million Twitter followers back in early November.
“Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock. Do you support this?” Musk asked his Twitter audience on Nov. 6, attaching a simplistic yes/no poll. Musk said he would honor the results of the poll—ultimately, 57.9% of the voters pushed him to sell the stock.
Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock.
Do you support this?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 6, 2021
Since September, Musk has sold 15.6 million shares tallying approximately $16.4 billion as part of a trading plan he set up. But Musk is far from lacking in his companies’ stocks. He’ll actually end 2021 with 177.7 million shares, up from 170.5 million he held in trust at the beginning of 2021, according to CNN.
Despite its democratic exterior, it seems Musk’s selling spree is partially to pay his massive tax bill of $11 billion, likely the largest individual tax bill in American history and a big change from Musk’s previous bills. A ProPublica report published earlier this year found that Musk paid no federal income tax at all in 2018—when he was admittedly only the second richest man in the world—despite seeing his wealth increase $13.9 billion during the previous four years.
Musk’s current net worth exceeds $275 billion based on his ownership stakes in Tesla and SpaceX. He does not collect an annual salary or cash bonuses.