Elon Musk sells around $5 billion of Tesla stock

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    Tesla CEO Elon Musk sold around $5 billion in shares in the electric-car maker, according to regulatory filings on Wednesday.

    His trust sold more than 3.5 million shares worth over $3.88 billion in a flurry of trades carried out Tuesday and Wednesday. Those transactions were not marked as 10b5, meaning they were not scheduled sales.

    Earlier Wednesday evening, filings showed Musk is selling a separate block of Tesla shares via a plan that he set in motion on Sept. 14 this year. Those sales amount to more than 930,000 shares worth over $1.1 billion.

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    Musk’s moves come just days after he asked his Twitter followers in a poll whether he should sell 10% of his shares in Tesla amid a swirling debate among policymakers about whether to increase taxes on the ultra-wealthy. Of the 3.5 million Twitter users who participated in the poll, nearly 60% voted in favor of Musk’s proposed sale.

    Following the poll, Tesla’s share price plunged Monday, meaning the 50-year-old entrepreneur sold his stock at a significantly lower price than if he had sold it before his tweet, losing tens of millions of dollars in unrealized profit.

    Musk still holds more than 170 million Tesla shares, according to the SEC documents, worth a total of $183 billion at Wednesday’s closing price.

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    On Monday, Musk offloaded about $1.1 billion worth of stock to pay income taxes on equity options that he also exercised that day, two of the filings showed. On Tuesday and Wednesday, he carried out the remaining sales. The filings detailing those disposals didn’t indicate that they were pre-planned.

    The billionaire last sold shares in 2016, when he exercised options and liquidated some of the newly acquired stock to cover about $590 million of income taxes.

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