Elon Musk sold 4.5 million shares of his company, Tesla, worth $5 billion on Wednesday after he made a poll on Twitter asking users whether he should sell 10% of his stock in the company.
Over 3 million Twitter users participated in the Tesla CEO’s poll on Saturday, with 57.9% of voters supporting his desire to sell ten percent of his stock. Musk is the largest shareholder in the company.
Musk’s move is directly connected to Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden’s latest plan to introduce more stringent taxes for the United Sates’ billionaires, targeting their investments, which are typically only taxed after being sold, and thus financially “realized.”
“Much has made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10 percent of my Tesla stock,” Musk wrote. Then he asked his followers, “Do you support this?”
Although Musk promised to “abide by the results” no matter what the outcome was, many experts believe that his Twitter poll was a stunt meant to spin the fact that he was queuing up to sell stock anyway, with one CNBC report stating that the CEO would be racked with $15 billion in taxes on his investments alone.
Senator demands billionaire income tax as Elon Musk’s wealth climbs
Musk has openly butted heads with Senator Wyden over his plan to tax the ultra-wealthy. Wyden responded to Musk’s poll by saying that “Whether or not the world’s wealthiest man pays any taxes at all shouldn’t depend on the results of a Twitter poll. It’s time for the Billionaires Income Tax.”
Musk seems to be entering the peak of his professional success with companies Tesla and SpaceX — and his personal wealth has climbed to new heights as a result. Tesla shares closed at an all-time high of $909.68 late last month, just two days after the company published its revenue and profits for Q3, which were also at a record high. Tesla’s market cap is approximately $860 billion.
The 50-year-old also took over the number one spot on the list of the world’s wealthiest people last month. Musk is the third person in history to have amassed a $200 billion fortune, according to Forbes.
While Musk has shot to the top spot in the world in private wealth largely due to his electric vehicle company Tesla, a Morgan Stanley analyst believes that the future of his aerospace company SpaceX will bring Musk across the trillion dollar threshold.
SpaceX “is challenging any preconceived notion of what was possible and the time frame possible, in terms of rockets, launch vehicles and supporting infrastructure,” Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas wrote.
Jonas has confidence in SpaceX precisely because he sees the company as holding a multitude of companies inside one, containing space exploration, infrastructure, and Earth observation, as well as its Starlink satellite communications, which Jonas sees as the biggest player towards his $200 billion valuation of the company.