Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

Tesla shares were under pressure on Monday after millions of Twitter users interviewed by CEO Elon Musk concluded that he should sell 10 percent of his stake in the electric carmaker.

The 24-hour poll, conducted over the weekend, is the latest trick by Musk to delight fans but venture into controversy. Announcing the poll on Saturday, Musk said on Twitter he would stick to the result.

The Tesla chief’s decides to open up to the Twitter sphere or to sell more than $ 20 billion worth of shares comes because the question of how to tax billionaires has received some political onslaught in the US.

By early Monday in New York, Musk, which boasts 62.7 million Twitter followers, had not yet responded to the results of a poll in which 58 percent of the 3.5 million who voted said the entrepreneur should have the interest do not sell.

Shares in Tesla, which rose nearly 70 percent this year, the group’s value rose more than $ 1 billion, fell 5 percent in early trading in New York.

The online poll divided opinions. Some announced the potential benefits if Musk did sell, while others speculated that the 50-year-old, whose Twitter – according to those of other business leaders, dwarfs, was merely seeking support for a sale he might have wanted to make anyway.

“At first glance, this is great news, you get more liquidity and a billionaire who pays taxes,” says Philippe Houchois, a car analyst at Jefferies, who believes Musk will keep his promise to sell.

It “would be harmful to [Musk’s] image if he does not ”continue to sell the shares, Houchois added.

Musk noted at a conference in September that it is likely to sell shares in the fourth quarter, as it has options that expire early next year.

If he continues, the vote will drop a large block of Tesla shares on the market. Based on Friday’s closing price, Musk’s 17 percent stake in Tesla was worth $ 208 billion. He did not indicate when or how he was going to get rid of the stock.

The meteoric rise in Tesla’s shares has made Musk billions of dollars through a controversial compensation package agreed three years ago, under which he could exercise large portions of stock options when the automaker reaches certain performance targets and its shares reach predetermined levels. .

The Tesla chief also said earlier this month that he was prepared to sell $ 6 billion worth of shares and donate the proceeds to the World Food Program, but only if the organization told him how he would use the money to end poverty.

His use of Twitter has branded Musk, who currently describes himself as “Lorde Edge” on the platform style, from other business executives, but has also drawn scrutiny from regulators, particularly over a 2018 tweet that he had “secured funding” for the company private.

In 2019, Musk agreed to an agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on new restrictions on its use of social media.

Houchois of Jefferies reckoned Musk would “continue to push the boundaries” on social media as “nothing has really blown in his face so far”.

Reported by Richard Waters in San Francisco

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