Billionaire Elon Musk started a Twitter poll to see if he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock.
So much money, so little time… unless you’re the richest person on the planet.
The 50-year-old businessman took to Twitter to propose his idea to his 62.7 million followers.
“Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock,” Musk tweeted. “Do you support this?”
In a follow-up tweet, the former Saturday Night Live guest host assured people that the poll is serious:
“I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes.”
Elon Musk letting Twitter decide whether he sells $26 billion of Tesla stock might be the biggest flex of all time 😂 pic.twitter.com/4FIzn56TRO
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) November 6, 2021
Over 3.5 million people joined in to vote, and 57.9% of them voted “Yes”. According to ABC News, “Musk owns a 23 per cent stake in Tesla … whose market value recently exceeded” $1 trillion USD (approximately $1.35 trillion AUD). The business tycoon also owns other established companies such as Neuralink, SpaceX, OpenAI and The Boring Company.
Journalists Ryan Beene and Dana Hull of The Financial Review (via the Bloomberg Billionaires Index) say that Musk has a fortune of $338 billion USD ($457.2 billion AUD). One quarter of that is attributed to “Tesla stock options that he’s free to exercise at any time”.
As outlined by 9News (sourced from CNN), Musk’s shares in Tesla equated to $208.3 billion USD (roughly $281.7 billion AUD) as of the close of trading on Friday.
Using $1,222.09 USD as the price per share, “10 per cent of them [Musk’s individual shares]” would have a value of $20.8 billion USD ($28.1 billion AUD). It’s also important to note that it may be more or less depending on how the market fluctuates.
Note, I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.
— Lorde Edge (@elonmusk) November 6, 2021
In other words, a lot of money is at play with Musk’s poll… and we mean a lot.
Musk’s decision about potentially selling his stock comes after he made headlines last week regarding an interview David Beasley, the head of the United Nation’s World Food Programme, had with CNN. When speaking with the media outlet, Beasley implored the world’s billionaires to “step up now, on a one-time basis” and donate so $6 billion could be used to end world hunger.
Taking to Twitter, Musk was more sceptical of Beasley’s words.
“If WFP can describe on this Twitter thread exactly how $6B will solve world hunger, I will sell Tesla stock right now and do it,” the billionaire tweeted on November 1.
Musk was also the subject of controversy after he criticised a new US Senate proposal (backed by Democrats) that would force billionaires to pay their taxes, rather than defer them as they are legally allowed to do. The money would be used for boosting social welfare and efforts to combat climate change.
“Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you,” Musk tweeted in response to the proposal.