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Elon Musk: I've 'Sold Enough' Tesla Stock To Meet Twitter Pledge

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says his 13.5 million stock sales are enough to meet his November pledge to offload a 10% stake in the clean-energy carmaker.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report shares moved higher Wednesday after founder and CEO Elon Musk declared that he has 'sold enough stock' in the clean energy car company following a pledge to offload around 10% of his holdings.

In an interview with the Babylon Bee website, which was released late Tuesday, Musk said he had needed to sell Tesla shares "no matter what", given that he needed to raise cash to meet tax liabilities linked to options expirations, but added that he had "sold enough stock to get to around 10%" - a tally he had put to his 67.2 million Twitter followers last month.

Earlier this week, Musk claimed his 2021 tax bill would total $11 billion.

Securities and Exchange Commission filings Tuesday also showed Musk selling another 583,611 shares, worth around $528 million, taking his overall total to 13.5 million. However, he's also exercised options to buy around 16.4 million shares -- most of which were granted in 2012 at a strike price of $6.24 each -- that have effectively increased his control over the world's biggest carmaker. 

That makes him, according to several estimates, the world's richest man, with the Bloomberg Billionaires Index pegging his personal fortune at around $245 billion.

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Tesla shares, which have fallen around 23% since Musk's November 6 Twitter poll, were marked 4.6% higher in early trading to change hands at $983.00 each.

Tesla passed the $1 trillion market value threshold on October 25, racing to a then-record high of just under $1,000 a share following reports of a $4.4 billion order from rental giant Hertz Global  (HTZZ) - Get Hertz Global Holdings Inc Report.

The group posted net income of just over $2 billion for the three months ending in September, alongside the strongest profit margins in the group's history -- 30.5% -- and record sales of $13.7 billion. The blowout figures followed another all-time high in third quarter deliveries, which rose 73.2% from last year to 241,300 units.

Short interest in Tesla remains elevated, however, following the group's passing of the $1 trillion market value threshold late last month, with recent data from S3 Partners pegging bets against Tesla at around $28 billion, or 3.38% of the stock's outstanding float.