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Tesla CEO Elon Musk exercised $100 million worth of the company’s shares

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, reacts to a reporter's question following the electric automaker’s initial public offering on Nasdaq, Tuesday, June, 29, 2010 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

In a new SEC filing published after market close today, Tesla confirmed that CEO Elon Musk exercised stock options to purchase 532,000 shares of Tesla’s common stock, which is worth a little more than $100 million based on today’s closing price of $191.

Musk doesn’t accept any salary from the automaker, but he does have a generous CEO grant of 5,274,901 stock options, which are awarded in 10 tranches when the company reaches certain milestones.

During the last quarterly report, Tesla disclosed 3 milestones the company considered probable of achievement:

  • Successful completion of the Model 3 Alpha Prototype
  • Aggregate vehicle production of 100,000 vehicles; and
  • Successful completion of the Model 3 Beta Prototype

Based on Tesla’s own reporting of deliveries, Model S deliveries reached over 100,000 units last quarter:Model S cummulative 2015It doesn’t necessarily means that the recent vesting of a tranche was due to Tesla achieving this goal or any other goals considered probable of achievement under the grant since Musk is not required to exercised the stock options once the milestone is achieved and it could have been from a previous milestone.

On October 6, 2015, Tesla’s Compensation Committee ratified the completion of the first Model X Production Vehicle as achieved under Musk’s CEO grant, but he didn’t report any exercised shares until now.

Musk’s new shares were exercised at $6.63 and bring his total holdings in Tesla to 28,903,342 shares worth about $5.5 billion or about 22% of the company before accounting for his non-exercised options.

Most of his shares come from early investments in the company. Musk participated and led most of Tesla’s rounds of funding up until it went public in 2010, but he also frequently invested in Tesla since the company is publicly traded. Most recently during Tesla’s secondary offering in August of last year.

A Tesla spokesperson added to the news:

“This week Elon increased his investment in Tesla. He exercised and held 532,000 stock options, which is approximately $100M in current value. Elon did not sell any shares even though he had to pay more than $50M of taxes in connection with the exercise. Instead of selling, he used cash to pay both the taxes and the exercise price.”

This highlights the fact that employees, even executives, often sell exercised stock options upon vesting to cover the cost associated with the transaction. Instead, Musk paid over $50 million to keep the new shares. In the past, the CEO even borrowed significant amount of money from investment banks to purchase Tesla’s stocks.

Featured image: Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, reacts to a reporter’s question following the electric automaker’s initial public offering on Nasdaq, Tuesday, June, 29, 2010 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

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