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Elon Musk has exercised the final batch of a package of vested Tesla Inc. stock options that have underpinned several weeks of share dealings by the chief executive.
Mr. Musk on Tuesday converted more than 1.5 million options due to expire in August 2022 into stock and sold more than 934,000 shares to cover associated taxes, according to regulatory filings.
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The Tesla boss has now exercised more than 22.8 million stock options since the transactions began last month. That total represents all of the vested options that would have expired next year, which Mr. Musk earned under a 2012 compensation package.
The transactions have boosted Mr. Musk’s holding in Tesla from around 170.5 million shares to more than 177 million shares.
The combined share sales over that past few weeks have reached a value of more than $16 billion. The sales mostly are linked to a scheduled investment plan Mr. Musk set in September, according to disclosures.
After setting the investment plan, Mr. Musk last month polled Twitter users about whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock; people on the social-media platform that voted endorsed the idea of a sale. The chief executive began exercising Tesla stock options and selling shares in the company on Nov. 8.
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Mr. Musk has sold around 15.7 million shares since then. How many shares constitute fulfilling his 10% pledge depends on how Mr. Musk defines his ownership stake. Mr. Musk, who is compensated by Tesla in stock awards and doesn’t accept a cash salary from the company, last week said on Twitter that "there are still a few tranches left, but almost done."
Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about whether Mr. Musk planned to sell more of the company’s stock in the coming weeks.
Mr. Musk has a net worth of around $279 billion, making him the richest person on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He also has sold some stock in recent weeks not related to the stock options.
Mr. Musk said he would pay more than $11 billion in taxes this year. He has verbally sparred with some Democrat lawmakers over taxes, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), who called on the billionaire to pay more. Mr. Musk responded by saying that he will pay more taxes than any American in history this year.
Mr. Musk is likely to have future rounds of such trading activity under a blockbuster 2018 compensation plan approved by shareholders. Mr. Musk has already secured additional stock options under that program.
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Tesla’s shares slumped after Mr. Musk began his transactions last month. The stock, which closed down 0.5% on Tuesday at $1,088.47, is down more than 10% from the day Mr. Musk took the Twitter poll.
Write to Robert Wall at [email protected]
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