Shares in Tesla dropped by 9% following remarks by Elon Musk that he would be willing to sell off 10% of his stock in the electric car manufacturing company. Musk carried out a Twitter poll that asked his followers whether he should sell his stock and that he would abide by the result. As such, 56.7% of the 3.5 million polled said that Musk should sell up, and shares in Tesla tanked as a result.
The Tesla boss is understood to be willing to offload Tesla stock due to President Biden’s tax reforms that are aiming at billionaires in a bid to fund the new social infrastructure plan. By making ‘unrealized gains’ like stocks part of taxable revenue, Musk has found himself resorting to Twitter to signal his plans.
Musk has yet to announce whether he will abide by the voters’ decision, and his 17% stake in Tesla is currently worth well over $200 billion. Reports indicate that Musk was already planning some kind of stock sale towards the end of the year as he has options that are due to expire in early 2022.
The planned sale will certainly help the reputation of the billionaire due to the fact that the revenue from the sale would be seen as going straight into the tax coffers. Since the poll was announced, Musk took to Twitter to announce that he doesn’t get a cash salary or a bonus and that the only way in which he could pay taxes is to sell stock.
It’s certainly a different approach from how firms usually plan a large sell-off of stock. Ordinarily, such a decision would be done cautiously so as to not spook investors. But with Musk guiding Tesla into becoming one of the handful of trillion-dollar companies in little more than a decade, it’s clear that he is playing by different rules.
This is just the latest outrageous social media caper from Elon Musk. The Tesla CEO has become increasingly trigger-happy on Twitter and the weekend’s 24 hour share-selling poll is just another example of this. Musk had courted plenty of controversy from regulators in 2018 when he tweeted that he had the funding secured to turn Tesla into a private company. Following this, there was an agreement reached with the US Securities and Exchange Commission over how Musk would use the social media platform.
Not that Musk takes to Twitter just to discuss stocks and shares. There has been plenty of criticism over how much power the entrepreneur is wielding on social media. This is because it can take even the most cryptic tweet from Musk to send a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Dogecoin spiralling or plummeting in value.
Plus there was even more controversy in 2019, when the South African entrepreneur took to Twitter to call a caver assisting with trapped Thai schoolboys, ‘pedo guy.’ All of which shows that even the world’s richest man is capable of embarrassing himself on social media.