All of Tuesday’s sales are part of a pre-agreed plan to exercise expiring management stock options. And while the option-related activity is not unexpected, investors still want to know when Musk sells will end.
It’s not easy to figure out, but the best bet might be to assume that Musk has a gift for investors that he will leave under the Christmas tree.
Musk exercised an additional 2.15 million stock options on Tuesday. That means he bought 2.15 million shares at the $ 6.24 exercise price. He then sold 934,091 shares, primarily to pay income taxes. Management stock options are taxed as ordinary income, and the compensation is essentially earned when a manager trains.
This is the fourth time Musk has exercised share options that were granted as part of a compensation package from 2012. Musk has sold 943,091 shares each time and acquired new shares through exercise.
Based on his previous activity, it looks like Musk will exercise about 26 million stock options in 12 separate tranches. He has been training about two rounds a week for the last few weeks.
In total, Musk has sold about $ 3.7 million worth $ 4 billion in 247 individual transactions through pre-agreed option exercises and stock sales.
Of course, Musk also sold some shares unrelated to management stock options after conducting a poll on
asks followers if he is to sell 10% of his Tesla (ticker: TSLA) shareholdings to expedite the payment of tax on unrealized capital gains.
When Musk conducted the poll, he owned about 170 million shares in Tesla. Ten percent of that number equates to about 17 million shares.
In addition to sales related to stock options, Musk has also sold approximately 4.8 million shares worth approximately $ 5.2 billion in 254 separate transactions. In total, Musk sold about 8.6 million shares worth $ 9.2 billion in 501 separate transactions.
It is not clear whether Musk considers the pre-agreed option-related share sales to be part of the 10% he proposed to sell. Tesla has not returned any further requests for comment on Musk’s sale.
If Musk were to include shares acquired from the option exercise as the figure on which he could base his sale of 10%, his initial share could be closer to 185 million shares. That means Musk will have to sell about 18.5 million shares outside of option-related sales. It also means that Musk will have an additional 13 or 14 million shares to sell – in addition to a possible option-related sale.
This is probably the worst case for Tesla investors, because the sale of many shares can create uncertainty and an overhang with investors waiting for the sale to stop before putting new money into work in the share.
Tesla stock has fallen about 9% since Musk’s Twitter poll. That
is flat over the same span. That
has fallen by about 1 per cent.
The calculation to reach the theoretical 10% can be calculated in many ways. At this point, however, it seems reasonable to assume that Musk planned to sell about 17 million shares in total – including all sales related to options exercise.
If so, there are an additional 7 million shares to sell via option exercises and an additional 1 million to sell outside of option exercises.
With the current pace of stock trading and option exercises, investors can expect approximately four weeks of more sales.
Musk’s sale should be ready by Christmas. If so, stopping selling will be a gift to Tesla bulls.
Write to Al Root at firstname.lastname@example.org
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