Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), has seen his fortune shrink by $50 billion in just two days after the company shares plunged by 16%. The stock dived over a poll Musk created on Twitter to ask his followers whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla shares, ahead of a tax bill worth $15 billion.
Over the weekend, Elon Musk asked his 62.7 million followers on Twitter whether he should sell 10% of his Tesla shares, and added: “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock.” Once the poll closed, out of 3.5 million votes, 58% were in favor and 42% against.
The post has had a huge impact on Elon Musk’s fortune, which has taken a $50 billion hit, the largest in two days in the history of the Bloomberg Billionaire Index, Fox Business reports.
Jason Kats, UBS managing director and senior portfolio manager, said of Musk asking Twitter for stock advice: “I think it’s reckless. There are a lot of people who take their investing seriously –and who obviously don’t have as much money as him– and they take this polls and his tweets pretty to heart.”
“I’m not so sure that should be the forum for him to express those views and nor do I think the SEC is going to view that as well,” he added.
Elon Musk’s plunge is also the biggest in one day after Jeff Bezos lost $36 billion upon divorcing Mackenzie Scott in 2019. According to Fox Business, the decline means Musk’s lead over Bezos as the world’s richest person is down to $83 billion.
The Tesla founder was also critical of the Senate Democrats' proposal of a “billionaire tax” under which he would have to pay $15 billion in taxes.
He added on the Twitter poll: “Note, I do not take a cash salary or bonus from anywhere. I only have stock, thus the only way for me to pay taxes personally is to sell stock.”
According to The New York Times, Musk might have had to make the sale regardless to pay for some 23 million Tesla stock options from 2012.
Tesla is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders’ families.