Tesla chief executive Elon Musk sold about $5 billion in shares on Wednesday, days after he polled Twitter users about selling 10% of his stake.
But the billionaire still holds about 166 million shares in the company, which is one of a handful that have a market valuation in excess of $1 trillion.
Musk’s trust sold nearly 3.6 million shares, worth around $4 billion, in a series of trades on Tuesday and Wednesday. He also cashed in another 934,000 shares for $1.1 billion after exercising options to acquire nearly 2.2 million shares.
The shares represented about 3% of his holdings in the EV manufacturer, which make up the bulk of his $280 billion estimated wealth.
Musk sold these shares partly to satisfy tax obligations related to an exercise in stock options.
Before that sale plan was made public, Musk asked his 62 million followers on Twitter to vote and advise what he should do with his Tesla holdings. But the filings reportedly showed that he knew some of his shares were slated for sale this week.
After the poll, shares of Tesla slumped more 15% on Monday and Tuesday, before they bounced back more than 4% on Wednesday and further on Thursday.
• Jim Pollard