According to MarketWatch, they may have started even before the result was out – and were decided since September 14.
MarketWatch discovered that Elon Musk had filed a 10b5-1 form with SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, even if the Tesla CEO defines it in another way) on that date. It is used for pre-planned stock sales.
In that form, Musk said he would sell 934,000 shares. They helped him raise $1.1 billion. The Tesla CEO also exercised stock options at $6.24 per share. He bought 2,154,572. In the Form 4, the company filed with SEC to explain the operation, Tesla said the stock sale was exclusively meant to “satisfy the reporting person's tax withholding obligations related to the exercise of stock options.”
Since then, Musk has sold 3.5 million more shares, raising a bit less than $4 billion in the process. According to MarketWatch, he got rid of more than 4.5 million shares and raised $4,997 billion so far. And there is probably more to come.
In his Twitter poll, Musk asked if he should get rid of 10% of his shares. The Tesla CEO had 170 million shares before exercising his stock options. That said, he still has 12.5 million shares to sell until he meets the 17 million he pledged to convert into money to pay taxes.
What Musk failed to mention was that he would have to pay these taxes to exercise the stock options he was awarded for meeting some of the company’s goals. He has since earned more stock options, which means he’ll probably sell more shares in the future. Ironically, selling them may help him increase his stake in Tesla: paying taxes is just part of the deal.