Tesla shares fell 4.5% Monday morning, after Elon Musk asked his 62.8million followers on social media whether they supported him selling 10% stock of his company -- despite the fact that he was going to sell a block anyway.
The proposal received approximately 3.5 million votes and was supported by 58% of respondents. In a follow-up tweet, he stated that he would "abide to the results of the poll, however it goes". If we accept his word, this means that there will be a lot of shares sold in the future.
Unrealized gains are often cited as a way to avoid tax. Therefore, I propose that 10% of my Tesla stock be sold. This is your opinion? -- Lorde Edge (@elonmusk) November 6, 2021
It is hard to view the tweet as anything but theater. Musk had previously indicated that he would likely sell large blocks of Tesla shares in public statements. Musk admitted that large amounts of his Tesla stock options would expire next August in a September conversation with Kara Swisher, a tech journalist. Musk stated that he has a lot of stock options that expire in the early part of next year. This means that there is a large block of options that will be sold in Q4.
He will also be subject to the tax bill regarding stock options, which he received in 2012 as part a compensation plan. Musk has repeatedly stated that he doesn't receive a salary from Tesla. The stock gains, which were paid out in 2012 at $6.24 per shares, will be subject to income tax. Tesla stock trades for over $1,200. He could be subject to a tax bill exceeding $15 billion if he exercises those options.
Although it is unclear whether Musk's tweet poll will cause a drop in share prices, shareholders have been irritated by his social media mischiefs. Musk was sued by a Tesla investor earlier this year for his "erratic tweets". This settlement required that he be monitored on social media.
One of the tweets mentioned in the suit was a May gem, Musk's tweet, "Tesla stock prices too high imo."