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Tesla Stock Jumps As CEO Elon Musk Exercises Last of His 2022 Stock Options

Elon Musk has sold around 15.7 million Tesla shares, putting his total close to the 17 million needed to honor a Twitter poll result published on November 6.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Tesla Inc Report shares jumped higher Wednesday after founder and CEO Elon Musk exercised the final batch of stock options expected to expire next year, signaling and end to his current run on share sales.

Securities and Exchange Commission filings late Tuesday show Musk exercised options on 1.6 million shares -- first granted in 2012 -- taking his total to 22.8 million. He also sold 934,090 shares -- worth around $1.02 billion -- to raise money for the tax liability linked to the 1.6 million exercise.

Collectively, Musk has sold 15.7 million shares -- with around 10.3 million likely earmarked for tax liabilities -- since asking his 68 million Twitter followers in early November if he should dump 10% of his holdings in the clean-energy carmaker.

He told the Babylon Bee website earlier this month that he had "sold enough stock to get to around 10%" on December 21, but later clarified that would only happen "when the 10b preprogrammed sales complete", referencing and SEC rule 10b5-1 that allows company insiders to set up pre-determined stocks sales in order to avoid accusations of insider trading.

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However, he's also exercised options to buy around 18million shares -- most of which were granted a strike price of $6.24 each -- that have effectively increased his control over the world's most valuable carmaker, making him the world's richest man, with the Bloomberg Billionaires Index pegging his personal fortune at around $245 billion.

Tesla shares were marked 0.73% higher in early Wednesday trading to change hands at $1,094.35 each ,a move that would leave the stock around 11% south of the level it traded before Musk's November 6 Twitter poll. 

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.