Musk 'to sell Tesla stock' on Twitter poll

Tesla shares have closed down nearly five per cent in the United States after CEO Elon Musk said he would sell 10 per cent of his holdings in the electric car maker - more than $US20 billion ($A27 billion) worth by most calculations - based on the results of a weekend Twitter poll.

According to analyst Daniel Ives of Wedbush Securities, Musk owns about 23 per cent of Tesla's stock and has about $US10 billion ($A13 billion) in taxes coming due on stock options that vest next summer.

Much of Musk's wealth is held in shares of Tesla, which does not pay him a cash salary.

"I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock," Musk tweeted.

Many on Wall Street assumed Musk would be selling closer to five per cent of his stake, Ives said, but even doubling that number does not cause him or his firm great concern.

Better to "rip the Band-Aid off now" and avoid speculation, Ives said.

"Tesla remains in pole position to drive this EV (electric vehicle) adoption curve to the next level both domestically and globally with Musk & Co. leading the way," Ives wrote in a note to clients.

Tesla has been on a roll.

As of Friday, shares had gained more than 40 per cent since last month when the company announced a record profit for the third quarter.

Last week, Tesla shares hit an all-time closing high of $US1,229,91 per share.

It is the most valuable car maker in the world with a market capitalisation of more than $US1 trillion ($A1.3 trillion).

Although stock fell 4.8 per cent on Monday, to $US1,162.94, it is still up nearly 65 per cent for the year.

The sometimes abrasive and unpredictable Musk, whose net worth is around $US300 billion ($A404 billion), said he proposed selling the stock as some Democrats have been pushing for billionaires to pay taxes when the price of the stocks they hold goes up, even if they do not sell any shares.

However, the wording on unrealised gains, also called a billionaires' tax, was removed from President Joe Biden's budget, which is still being negotiated.

"Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock," he tweeted on Saturday afternoon. "Do you support this?"

Musk said he would abide by the results of the poll, which ended with 58 per cent of more than 3.5 million votes calling for him to sell the stock.

He did not say when he would sell the stock.

Ives called Musk's recent Twitter poll "another bizarre soap opera that can only happen to one company and one CEO in the world, Musk."

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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