Tesla CEO Elon Musk — the richest man in the world — sold $1.1 billion worth of stock in his company on Wednesday to cover a massive tax bill on his expiring security options exercise.
Musk acquired 2.2 million shares of the electric car company at the price of $6.24 and quickly dumped more than 900,000 for about $1,200 each.
In 2012, Musk was given the option of buying 26 million shares of Tesla at the heavily-discounted price if he met goals set by the company’s board of directors, according to Fortune.
The options expire next year, which reportedly leaves him owing $12.5 billion in taxes.
Musk took to Twitter over the weekend to ask followers if he should sell 10 percent of his share in the company. The stock plunged by 16 percent on Monday and Tuesday on the heels of the tweet, sinking Musk’s net worth from $338 billion to $288 billion, according to Bloomberg’s calculations.
It made back some ground Wednesday and rebounded further after the news that Musk sold only .5 percent of his total stake in the company. Tesla shares were trading just below $1,100 on Wednesday night.
Even though the company’s stock cratered this week, it’s still up 51 percent on the year.
“The company itself is on fire, with strong results,” said Tim Ghriskey, a senior portfolio strategist at New York-based investment management firm Ingalls and Snyder. “That is not going to fade quickly.”
With AP wires