Elon Musk has disposed of enough shares to reach a target of reducing his stake in Tesla Inc. by 10%, the head of the electric-car leader said in an interview.
“I sold stock that should roughly make my total Tesla share sale roughly 10%,” he told satirical website Babylon Bee.
Musk has been offloading Tesla stock since asking his Twitter followers in November whether he should sell some of his stake. The move is part of a plan to generate cash to cover an estimated tax bill of more than $10 billion on stock options Musk is due to exercise.
Late Sunday, he said in a Tweet that he would pay more than $11 billion in taxes this year, hitting back at criticism from a number of lawmakers like Senator Elizabeth Warren who called Musk a “freeloader” on social media. Warren and other leading Democrats are alleging billionaires like Musk are avoiding paying taxes.
“I don’t have any offshore accounts, I don’t have any tax shelters,” Musk said, adding that he could do his taxes himself in just a few hours. “Everything is extremely transparent.”
The latest regulatory filings show Musk has sold yet more shares in Tesla for $528 million, taking the total to around 13.5 million shares for about $14.1 billion. His comments to Babylon Bee suggest he has since disposed of yet more stock.
Tesla has declined by about a quarter since a peak on Nov. 4, just prior to Musk’s Twitter poll, to which the majority of respondents answered “yes.” The shares rose 2.4% in premarket trading after closing at $938.53 in New York on Tuesday.
Musk, 50, is the world’s richest person, atop the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a fortune of $244.9 billion.
“I’m not sure it’s all that productive or interesting” to focus on his wealth, Musk said. “Essentially all of my net worth is just in SpaceX and Tesla stock, these two companies I helped create and have run now almost 20 years that have done a lot of useful things.”
–With assistance from Stefan Nicola.