Musk sells $1.1B in Tesla shares to pay taxes

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Elon Musk has begun selling shares that will go toward paying taxes.

The Tesla CEO has sold about 900,000 shares of the electric car maker's stock, netting over $1.1 billion.

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The share sales were revealed in two regulatory filings late Wednesday.

The sales will cover tax obligations for stock options granted to Musk in September. He exercised options to buy just over 2.1 million shares for $6.24 each. The company's stock closed Wednesday at $1,067.95 per share.

The transactions were "automatically effected" as part of a trading plan adopted on Sept. 14 to sell options that expire next year, according to forms filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That was nearly two months before he floated the idea of the sale on Twitter.

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Musk said over the weekend he would sell 10% of his holdings in the company, worth more than $20 billion, based on a poll he conducted on Twitter.

The poll, which garnered more than 3.5 million votes closed Sunday, with nearly 58% in favor of Musk’s proposition and more than 42% against the idea. 

Wedbush Analyst Daniel Ives said it appears Musk will start selling shares as the year ends. "The question will be for investors if he sells his full 10% ownership stake over the coming months or is it done piece-by-piece during 2022," Ives wrote in a note to investors.

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According to Bloomberg, the tweet was costly as Musk's fortune was clipped to the tune of $50 billion as shares fell over a two-day period, until the streak was snapped on Wednesday.

The shares were up 2.6% to $1,096 in extended trading Wednesday, and they have risen more than 50% this year.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
TSLATESLA, INC.1,067.95+44.45+4.34%

After the transactions, Musk is still Tesla's largest shareholder, owning about 170 million Tesla shares, according to data provider FactSet.

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Musk was Tesla’s largest shareholder as of June, owning about 17% of the company, 

Musk is the wealthiest person in the world, according to Forbes, with a net worth of around $282 billion, most of it in Tesla stock.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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