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Elon Musk sells 4.5M Tesla shares worth $5 billion

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, facing a tax bill of $15 billion sold about $5 billion in shares, the billionaire reported in filings on Wednesday.

The sale came just days after he polled Twitter users about selling 10% of his stake.

In his first share sale since 2016, Musk’s trust sold nearly 3.6 million shares in Tesla, worth around $4 billion, while he also sold another 934,000 shares for $1.1 billion after exercising options to acquire nearly 2.2 million shares.

The 4.5 million shares equate to about 3% of his total holdings in the electric vehicle manufacturer, which makes up the vast part of his estimated $281.6 billion fortune, according to Forbes.

Musk on Saturday polled Twitter users about selling 10% of his stake, helping to push down Tesla’s share price after a majority on Twitter said they agreed with the sale.

The options-related sales were set up in September through a trading plan that allows corporate insiders to establish preplanned transactions on a schedule, the filing said.

The sales of the option-related shares paid for associated taxes. It was not clear how or whether the trading plan related to Musk’s Twitter poll. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

The additional share sales were separate and provide Musk with sizeable reserves of cash, given his wealth is largely tied to his stakes in Tesla and SpaceX.

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