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Tesla Stock Slumps As Twitter Poll Supports Elon Musk Stake Sale

Musk, the world's richest man, could face a $5 billion tax bill if he 'abides' by a weekend Twitter poll and sells around 17 million of his 170.5 million in Tesla shares.

Tesla  (TSLA) - Get Free Report shares slumped lower in pre-market trading Monday after founder and CEO Elon Musk indicated he could sell around 10% of his stake in the clean-energy carmaker.

Musk, who has come under recent fire from some U.S. lawmakers over his ability to avoid capital gains taxes despite the billions of value added to Tesla shares over the past five years, conducted a Twitter poll over the weekend that asked his 62.7 million followers if he should sell some of his 170.5 million shares in order to create a tax liability.

Around 58% of the more than 3.5 million respondents in the poll voted "yes".

Musk could face a $5 billion tax bill if, as he has indicated, he abides by the result of the weekend poll and sells around $21 billion worth of Tesla shares somewhere in the region of Friday's closing price of $1,222.09 each.

“Note, I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere," Musk wrote on his verified Twitter account Saturday. "I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”

However, he has only sold shares in the group on two occasions, raising $24 million shortly after Tesla's 2010 initial public offering and another $593 million from a share sale in 2016.

That would still leave him with a net worth of more than $313 billion, according to data from Forbes, a tally that makes him the richest man in the world. 

Tesla shares were marked 5.2% lower in early trading Monday to change hands at $1,161.00 each, a move that would still leave the stock with a six-month gain of around 83%.