Elon Musk jokes about quitting his jobs as he sells more Tesla shares

The world's richest man is about two thirds of the way through trimming 10 per cent of his direct share ownership in Tesla

In a five-week period Elon Musk has disposed of stock worth about $11.8 billion. Reuters
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Elon Musk combined a disclosure that he has disposed of more Tesla stock with a joke tweet about quitting his jobs.

Tesla’s chief executive offloaded shares worth $963 million to pay taxes on the exercise of an additional 2.2 million options, according to regulatory filings. He has now disposed of stock worth about $11.8 billion over five weeks.

A couple of hours after the filings were posted, the world’s richest man quipped that he had found a new calling.

“Thinking of quitting my jobs & becoming an influencer full-time,” Mr Musk wrote, asking his almost 66 million followers what they thought of the idea. He followed this up with several laughing-emoji replies.

Shareholders and regulators have not always appreciated the humour in Mr Musk’s Twitter high jinks. Tesla shares plunged after a post in jest on April Fools’ Day in 2018 said that the company had gone bankrupt.

Later that year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission sued him over tweets about taking Tesla private at a price significant in marijuana culture, which he thought would amuse his girlfriend at the time.

Tesla fell 2 per cent to $983.90 before the start of regular trading on Friday. The stock has fallen 18 per cent from a peak on November 4 as Mr Musk offloaded shares.

He told his Twitter followers last month that he would abide by a poll he took on whether he should sell 10 per cent of his stake in the carmaker. He has disposed of more than 11 million shares since then.

Mr Musk is now about two thirds of the way through trimming 10 per cent of his direct share ownership. If the threshold he has referred to includes exercisable options, he will need to get rid of approximately another six million shares.

The chief executive of Tesla and Space Exploration Technologies is the world’s richest man, with a $266 billion fortune that has grown by $110bn this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Updated: December 10, 2021, 1:10 PM