Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he has reached his goal of selling 10 per cent of his shareholding in the electric car company, following a Twitter poll.
Last month, Musk asked his Twitter followers if he should sell the shareholding, vowing to abide by whatever the poll determined. Almost 60 per cent of the 3.5 million voters said that he should offload 10 per cent of the company.
In a nearly hour-long podcast interview with the satirical website the Babylon Bee, Musk said "I sold enough stock to get to around 10 per cent plus the option-exercise stuff, and I tried to be extremely literal here."
According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Musk exercised 2 million more options and sold nearly 584,000 more Tesla shares on Tuesday, bringing the total number of shares sold over the past month-plus to about 13.5 million. He has made US$14 billion ($20.5b) from those sales.
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However, Musk also exercised options to buy about 16.4 million stock options at near US$6.24 a share – meaning he has been increasing his stake in Tesla.
Tesla shares gained more than 4 per cent on Tuesday and are up 33 per cent year to date. The company's stock has soared more than 1100 per cent over the past three years.
Musk, who was recently named Time magazine's Person of the Year, said at the weekend that he would pay more than US$11b in taxes this year.
His comments came after Senator Elizabeth Warren dubbed Musk "the world's richest freeloader" amid claims he paid nothing in federal income taxes in 2018 and less than US$70,000 in 2015 and 2017.
Senator Warren tweeted last Monday: "Let's change the rigged tax code so The Person of the Year will actually pay taxes and stop freeloading off everyone else.'
Musk hit back, calling her a "Karen" and sharing a link claiming Senator Warren lied about having Native American heritage to benefit from affirmative action.
Musk is the world's wealthiest individual according to Bloomberg's Billionaires Index, with a fortune of about US$245b — up nearly US$89b this year alone.