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Twitter votes Musk should sell 10% of own Tesla stock

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk, pictured on March 2019, has asked his Twitter followers if he should sell 10 per cent of his Tesla stock. AFP

Twitter votes Musk should sell 10% of own Tesla stock

Twitter has spoken – after Elon Musk polled his more than 62 million followers on whether he should sell 10 per cent of his Tesla shares, by November 7 a majority had voted “yes”.

“I was prepared to accept either outcome,” said Musk, who regularly takes to Twitter to make unexpected announcements or surprising comments. He did not specify when or how he plans to sell the shares.

The electric car maker’s query on the night of November 6 follows a proposal by US Congressional Democrats to tax the super wealthy more heavily by targeting stocks, which are usually only taxed when sold.

Musk had already criticised the proposal at the end of last month, tweeting: “Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you.”

He broached the topic again on November 6, writing on Twitter: “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock.”

He also shared a poll asking followers whether they agree “yes” or “no”.

By November 7, 57.9 per cent of those who voted had picked “yes”. Musk owned about 17 per cent of Tesla’s outstanding shares as of June 30, currently worth $208.37 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The entrepreneur was also awarded a large package of stock options and convertible shares as compensation.

By selling 10 per cent of his shares, he could theoretically earn just under $21 billion.

His wealth swelled with the recent surge in Tesla’s stock price, from about $130 at the start of 2020 to $1,222.09 as of November 5.

Taking into account his stakes in his other companies, such as neurotechnology firm Neuralink and SpaceX, Musk is, in theory, the richest man in the world, with an estimated fortune of some $338 billion, according to Bloomberg.

“Note, I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere,” Musk tweeted on November 6.

“I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”

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