The latest ‘Elon con’ involves a Twitter stunt where his followers supposedly made the decision for him to sell his Tesla shares. But Musk is actually on a buying spree, buying shares for “well below 1% of Tesla's current share price.”
The above image of Elon Musk sporting a Winston Smith in 1984 hairdo is not a put-on — he really is wearing his hair that way these days. But we suspected it was a put-on when Musk posted some sort of Twitter poll regarding his stock options in early November, wherein Musk claimed, following a call by Bernie Sanders for him to pay more taxes, “I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock,” and “I will abide by the results of this poll, whichever way it goes.”
Elon devotees voted 58%-42% in favor of him selling his shares, and as of press time today, he’s sold about half of that 10%, according to regulatory filings. But CNN has dug through those regulatory filings, and found that Musk is simultaneously buying up far more shares than he’s selling as part of his compensation deal with the company, and moreover, his stock sales were indeed planned months in advance of the poll.
Plus, in an infuriating example of how the system is set up so that wealthy heirs and inheritees get richer, CNN points out that Musk is exercising options to buy shares “at a bargain exercise price of $6.24 a share, well below 1% of Tesla's current share price.”
For perspective, Tesla’s stock closed today at more than $1,000 a share. So getting those shares at six dollars and change is just an obvious example of a system rigged in your favor — but that is how CEOs make their money these days.
Musk was basically punking his devoted Twitter acolytes with that poll because he had every intention of selling a chunk of stock to pay the sizable taxes he owes on newly exercised shares — some $5 billion. This is basically standard billionaire CEO practice.
CNN’s reporting adds that “with or without the poll — the options were due to expire by August of 2022 if he didn't exercise them. And Tesla is poised to award Musk even more options, pending its upcoming financial results. His stake in the company is the reason Musk is the richest person on the planet.”
So yes, Elon Musk is the richest person on the planet. But the reason his wealth is so enormous is probably not because he is so great at inventing electric cars. It’s because he has an army of financial advisers who can manipulate highly technical financial systems that, to people like you and me, are harder to understand than whatever it is Elon named his baby.
Image: TURIN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 24: (L-R) John Elkann speaks with Elon Musk during the Italian Tech Week on September 24, 2021 in Turin, Italy. Italian Tech Week is a festival of technology and resources in support of future technology. (Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)