Elon Musk sold about $1.02 billion worth of his holdings in Tesla, reaching closer to his sales target of 10 percent that he had promised Twitter followers last month, while at the same time bought millions of shares via options.
According to filings with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, as cited by the Wall Street Journal, Musk sold a total of 15.6 million shares. For offloading 10 percent, he’d need to dispose of almost 17 million shares. The world’s richest man based his pledge on a Twitter poll that voted “yes” to selling Tesla stock in retaliation to a government proposal to tax unrealized gains of billionaires in the country.
Meanwhile, the Tesla chief exercised his right to buy the stock at a strike price of $6.24 per share, as granted to him through a compensation package back in 2012. The options trade got him shares that are currently trading at $1,088.47.
According to filings, Musk sold the shares to cover taxes associated with the options trade, and has now exercised 22.8 million options, which were due in 2022, thereby, increasing his Tesla holding from 170.5 to 177 million shares.
Musk had suggested months earlier that he would be exercising some of his options before the end of 2021.
In a recent interview with the satirical media platform Babylon Bee, Musk said, “I sold enough stock to get to around 10% plus the option exercise stuff and I tried to be extremely literal here.”
Tesla shares have gone up considerably over the past few days, with the stock price increasing over 20 percent from Dec. 20. The company has gained almost 50 percent value year-to-date. But it is down around 10 percent from when he took the Twitter poll and agreed to sell.
After being named Time’s Person of the Year 2021, Musk had a brief spar with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) who said on Twitter, “Let’s change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else.”
Musk replied, “And if you opened your eyes for 2 seconds, you would realize I will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.”
“For those wondering, I will pay over $11 billion in taxes this year,” he wrote in a recent tweet.
The electric automaker is in a strong position heading into 2022 with new factories opening up in the United States and Germany, combined with improving sales numbers from China.
Presently, Musk has a net worth of $278.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.