Tesla CEO says he has sold ‘enough stock’ and slams California for ‘overtaxation’ and ‘overegulation’ and ‘overlitigation’
Tesla cofounder and CEO Elon Musk has opened up about his recent stock sell-off and the reasons for his relocation away from California.
In an interview on Tuesday with satirical website Babylon Bee, Musk said he had sold “enough stock” to reach his plan to sell 10 percent of his shares in the world’s most valuable car company
Musk revealed at the weekend that he is facing a tax bill this year of more than $11 billion, hitting back at an accusation from Democratic US Senator Elizabeth Warren that he was freeloading.
Musk has sold off $14 billion worth of Tesla stock since early November, after he asked Twitter users whether he should sell 10 percent of his shareholding in Tesla.
On Tuesday, Musk sold another 583,611 shares, bringing the total number of shares he has offloaded to 13.5 million – about 80 percent of what he had planned to sell.
“I sold enough stock to get to around 10% plus the option exercise stuff and I tried to be extremely literal here,” he said in the interview with Babylon Bee.
When asked whether he sold the stock because of the Twitter poll, he said he needed to exercise stock options that are expiring next year “no matter what.” H
He also added that he sold an additional “incremental stock” to get near 10 percent.
Out of the 13.5 million shares sold, 8.06 million were sold to pay taxes related to his options exercise.
During the interview Musk was discussing staffing and where Babylon Bee was based, and one of the hosts said it was technically based in south Florida but he was working hard to get the rest of the staff to relocate there, but “it is hard to get these people of out California.”
Musk immediately quipped back.
“That is despite the state of California doing everything it can to encourage people to leave,” and he joked that u-hual was doing great business in the US state.
Musk was then asked if he missed California.
“There are so many aspects I like about California that I do like,” Musk replied, stating that many of his friends are still based there.
“It is beautiful and lots of cool things but increasingly difficult to get things done,” Musk added. “California used to be the land of opportunity and now it is… becoming more so the land of sort of overregulation, overlitigation, overtaxation,” he said.
He pointed to the scorn he felt in the US state, with no thank you for the taxes he paid.
“You don’t even get a thank you note,” he joked.
Musk is the richest man in the world and in December 2020, he announced he had left California after he had sold his Bel Air homes.
Musk personally relocated to Texas, after living in Los Angeles for 20 years.