Tesla shares rebound after CEO Musk says he sold “enough” shares

Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, speaks at his company’s Fremont, California factory on June 22, 2012 as the automaker began shipping its Model S electric sedan. REUTERS / Noah Berger

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San Francisco, Dec. 22 (Reuters) – Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) shares rose 6% on Wednesday after CEO Elon Musk said in an interview that he had sold “enough shares” after the billionaire sold several weeks of shares.

Musk gave conflicting statements Tuesday and Wednesday on whether or not he could cope with his stated goal of selling 10% of his shares.

“I sold enough stocks to get around 10% plus the option exercise and I tried to be extremely literal here,” he said Tuesday in an interview with the conservative satirical website Babylon Bee.

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But on Wednesday he suggested that he may not be done selling stocks. “This assumes the completion of the 10b sale,” he tweeted, possibly referring to his pre-arranged sales plan regarding his options.

Under Rule 10b5-1 trading plan drawn up in September, he has exercised stock options that expire next year and sold some of the shares to pay taxes, according to Tesla filings.

Musk said on Nov. 6 that he would sell 10% of his stake if Twitter users agreed. Tesla shares, which had hovered near record highs, lost about a quarter of their value shortly afterwards.

After a spate of sales, Musk still has more than 3 million stock options that expire next August.

On Tuesday, Musk sold an additional 934,091 shares, dumping a total of 13.8 million shares – just under the 17 million shares he was supposed to sell.

Tesla stock rose 6.2% to $ 996.65 on Wednesday afternoon, from an earlier high of $ 1,015.66.

When asked if he had sold the stock based on the Twitter poll, he said Tuesday that he would have to exercise “no matter what” stock options that expire next year. He added that he had sold additional “incremental stocks” to hit nearly 10%.

Of the 13.8 million shares sold, 8.4 million were sold to pay taxes related to its option exercise, according to Tesla’s securities filings.

On Sunday he said on Twitter that he would pay more than $ 11 billion in taxes this year.

Musk, who moved the company’s headquarters from California to Texas earlier this month, also criticized California for “over-taxing” and “over-regulation” in an interview on Tuesday.

“California used to be the land of opportunity and now it is … even more so, the land of over-regulation, excessive litigation and over-taxation,” he said, adding that it is “increasingly difficult to get things done” in California.

He said his personal tax rate is over 50%, which would include federal and state income taxes. Musk said last year that he moved from California to Texas, where he doesn’t have to pay income tax.

Musk also said the “metaverse,” a technology buzzword referring to shared virtual environments, is not mandatory, adding that playing video games with glasses can lead to motion sickness. “Sure, you can put a television on your face.”

“I think we are far from disappearing into the Metaverse.

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Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit and Noel Randewich in Oakland, California. Editing by Bernadette Baum and Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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