Musk performs his favorite party trick with Tesla stock

In his second round of sales this week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk got rid of another 934,091 company shares for more than $884 million, regulatory filings showed on Thursday. However, the billionaire now owns more Tesla stock than ever.

Musk also sold the same number on Monday. He has now offloaded 12.9 million shares, bringing sales to a total of nearly $14 billion since early November.

At the same time as offloading shares at market prices, Musk has been buying back stock options granted to him by the company in 2012. He has now tapped 17 million of the 22.9 million stock options with an August deadline, while selling 12.9 million shares for $13.6 billion. That option grant gives Musk the right to buy Tesla shares at a strike price of $6.24, less than 1% of their current value.

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© Reuters / Sarah Meysonnier
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Last month, the world’s richest man, who is facing a looming tax bill of more than $15 billion, asked his Twitter followers if he should dump 10% of his Tesla holding and pay taxes on unrealized capital gains. His followers voted ‘yes’, and thus the selling spree began. Musk doesn’t receive a salary or cash bonuses from his company, so he can only pay his taxes by selling stock.

Analysts say Musk appears on pace to reach that 10% target in the coming days. According to their estimates, he would need to sell another 4.1 million shares.

Tesla shares were trading lower on Friday, declining 1.47% as of 13:57 GMT. The stock has dropped 25% from its peak in November to $935 per share.

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