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Elon Musk listened to the Twitter poll and sold $5 billion in stock – but there’s more to it

He also didn’t sell the 10 percent he promised to.

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Image: KnowTechie

Elon Musk recently posted a poll on Twitter to bring attention to unrealized gains and taxes by asking his followers if he should sell off 10-percent of his Tesla stock. The results said yes, so he sold off around $5 billion worth of his Tesla stock.

The thing is, his poll was slightly misleading. Never mind the fact that he only sold about three percent of his total stake in the company.

Just under a million of those shares that were worth over $1.1 billion were already scheduled to be sold, via a plan Musk set into motion back in September. Not quite the “I’ll sell if you tell me” angle Musk was telling the internet via his Twitter poll.

The other thing Musk left off his tweet is that he’s got a deadline to convert roughly “22.9 million vested stock options into shares or let them expire worthless,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

If he did convert those shares, he’d need $143 million or so to do the conversion, then he’d need a hefty wad of about $9 billion to pay federal taxes and Medicare requirements. That’s not including Californian state taxes, where he’s a resident.

So, while the conversation around unrealized gains and taxes is a valid one, perhaps Musk could have been a little more forthright. Then again, it wouldn’t have made for such good news, right?

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience at KnowTechie, SlashGear and XDA Developers. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere, with particular focus in gadgetry and handheld gaming. Shoot him an email at joe@knowtechie.com.

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