Why Elon Musk Just Sold 1 Million Tesla Shares

Musk, who is the company’s largest shareholder, had to pay a one-time tax on all of his vested stock options that he exercised after taking over as CEO. To avoid this hefty cost, Musk opted for an annual salary of $1 and warned Tesla employees that they may not be getting raises anytime soon. I’m trying to do the right thing,said Musk when asked about his decision during a call with reporters Tuesday.

In a later interview with the Mercury News , Musk added that he had no choice in order to avoid a massive tax bill. If you add up all my gains from all my equity, it would be far more than $1 billion, said Musk told the paper. I can’t really have a full gain on something I don’t own.

Some investors are unhappy with Musk’s decision to sell off the shares. They believe he may have sacrificed his long-term focus for short-term cash, according to USA Today . Unlike most shareholders, Musk does not simply invest in Tesla. He’s also the CEO of its sister company SpaceX and has many other projects on the go.

Our CEO is very transparent with us and tells us your position is precarious, said Tesla shareholder Ross Gerber to USA Today . And when he says that, you don’t know if you’ll make money or lose money on Friday. This isn’t like investing in GE , where you might not care if Immelt sells his shares because he can always be replaced on Monday.

Unsurprisingly, most of Musk’s net worth still lies in his SpaceX equity, which has an estimated value of $12 billion. In the meantime, Tesla investors seem to have been reassured by Musk’s latest move and Tesla stock is up nearly 4% today.

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An article about Elon Musk leaving his fortune in Tesla shares appeared on my news feed. When I read it, I clicked on the link, then scrolled through the comments to see what others were saying about this article. It was from a crank website that has been all over my facebook newsfeed for a while now. The site is named Your News Wire and it is full of hoaxes and fake news stories.

A month or so ago, I was unable to discern the difference between real news sites and fake news sites. Now I can easily tell which is which. YNW fits into the latter category. The thing that tipped me off in the beginning was their headline style, but now there are many other ways to tell if a site is legitimate or not.

One of the ways I know when a site is fake is when they use stock photos for their ‘writers’. The people who write articles on Your New Wire are supposed to be regular people. Regular, non-media types with no journalism experience whatsoever. But in all of their pictures, these ‘writers’ are clearly wearing fancy clothes and nice watches. Are they models? Sometimes there are two people in the photo when it is supposed to be one writer. Maybe these are stock photos that anyone can license for cheap or free, but when I see it used so much by YNW, I have to wonder if this is not part of their plan to look more authentic.