Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk this week sold about 4.5 million shares of the electric vehicle company’s stock, valued at $5 billion.
The sale of the electric carmaker’s shares occurred between Monday and Wednesday after Musk consulted last weekend with his Twitter followers on whether he should sell 10% of the stock, which the majority approved.
“A lot of talk lately that unrealized gains are a way to avoid taxes, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla shares. Do you support this?” was the message to his followers, an announcement that sent the stock tumbling.
After selling less than 1% of its holdings on Monday, it sold about 2% over the next two days, according to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) documents cited by the media.
It is unknown whether he will continue to sell until he reaches the 10% he promised on Twitter.
Musk, who is at the helm of his SpaceX space venture, still owns nearly 17% of Tesla shares, valued at about $180 billion. The company recently surpassed $1 trillion in market valuation.
The SEC documents indicate, however, that Monday’s option exercise and sales were conducted under a prearranged trading plan on Sept. 14, nearly two months before Musk made the query on the social network.
They note that Musk, considered the world’s richest man, indicated he sold about 1 million shares “solely” to cover taxes on 2,154,572 shares he picked up at $6.24 each.
On Wednesday 10, he sold an additional 3.6 million shares, the SEC notes.