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Elon Musk’s social media followers have spoken: The Tesla Inc. chief should sell 10% of his stake in the electric-car maker.

A majority of 3.5 million Twitter users -- 58% -- said they’d support such a sale in a Twitter poll that Musk launched Saturday and closed shortly after 2:15 p.m. Sunday in New York. The stake would be valued at about $21 billion based on 170.5 million Tesla shares he holds. 

“I was prepared to accept either outcome," Musk said in a tweet after the poll closed.

A cryptocurrency version of Tesla’s shares trading on FTX suggests Musk’s tweeting may cause the shares to fall when Wall Street wakes up Monday. They were fetching $1,137.60 as of about 5:20 p.m. Sunday in New York, 6.9% lower than Friday’s close for the real stock. 

The world’s richest person proposed the move in a tweet citing recent discussions about the ultra-wealthy hoarding unrealized gains to avoid paying taxes. Musk doesn’t take a salary, but has to pay taxes on any stock options that he exercises.

The automaker’s stock has soared 73% this year to $1,222.09 as of Nov. 5, giving it a valuation of $1.2 trillion. The number of shares that Musk -- its chief executive officer and largest shareholder -- could be set to offload is equivalent to 80% of Tesla’s average daily trading volume in the past three months. The amount of stock he may potentially sell would be even greater if his options are included.

Musk’s fortune stands at $338 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. About one-quarter of that consists of Tesla stock options that he’s free to exercise at any time. The securities come from two big awards he received in 2012 and 2018. The older contracts expire in August next year.

 

 

 

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