Tesla CEO Elon Musk has sold $1.1 billion worth of shares to satisfy tax related obligations, following a Twitter poll on whether he should sell off 10 percent of his holdings to pay a proposed “billionaire's tax,” setting off worries that such a sale could hurt Tesla's share price.
According to a regulatory filing from the company late Wednesday, Musk made the sale as he exercised stock options the same day to acquire more than 2 million shares.
Those shares would have been valued at more than $2.3 billion at the market’s close on Wednesday.
Musk turned to Twitter Saturday, and phrased his poll as a tax question, telling followers that “much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock.”
The poll collected more than 3.5 million votes, and 58 percent supported a sale, as Musk vowed to abide by the result.
Tesla recovered 4.3 percent to $1,067.95 in Wednesday’s trading session after shares dropped sharply over the Twitter poll.
In light of the introduced billionaire tax, which would tax unrealized gains of a handful of the richest Americans, Musk said he does not take a cash salary or bonus, so “the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”
“The company itself is on fire, with strong results,' said Tim Ghriskey, a senior portfolio strategist at New York-based investment management firm Ingalls and Snyder. “That is not going to fade quickly.”