Elon Musk said Tuesday he’s met his goal of selling 10% of his stake in Tesla Inc., and criticized California for “overtaxation.”
In a nearly hourlong podcast interview with the satirical website the Babylon Bee, the Tesla TSLA, +4.29% CEO said: “I sold enough stock to get to around 10% plus the option-exercise stuff, and I tried to be extremely literal here.”
According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Musk exercised 2 million more options and sold nearly 584,000 more Tesla shares Tuesday, bringing the total number of shares sold over the past month-plus to about 13.5 million — slightly shy of the roughly 17 million shares that constituted his 10% stake as of Nov. 7, when he posted a Twitter poll asking whether he should sell. He’s made more than $14 billion in those sales. But over that time he’s also exercised options to buy about 16.4 million stock options at about $6.24 a share, actually increasing his stake in the electric-auto maker.
Musk also tweeted Sunday night that he will pay more than $11 billion in taxes this year. That equates to about 8.06 million of his recently sold shares going to his tax bill on stock options set to expire next year.
Musk, who has insulted top Democrats in recent weeks who have called for him to pay more in taxes, took a parting shot at California’s high taxes.
“California used to be the land of opportunity and now it is… becoming more so the land of sort of overregulation, overlitigation, overtaxation,” he told the Babylon Bee.
This year, Musk moved his residence and Tesla’s corporate headquarters from California to Texas, which has significantly lower taxes.
Musk is the world’s wealthiest individual according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, with a fortune of about $245 billion — up nearly $89 billion this year alone.
In Tuesday’s podcast, Musk reiterated that his wealth is tied up in stock. “It’s not like I’ve got some sort of massive cash balance,” he said.
Tesla shares gained more than 4% Tuesday and are up 33% year to date. The company’s stock has soared more than 1,100% over the past three years.