Elon Musk might have actually followed through with the supposedly “world hunger-ending donation” that he questioned last year as Tesla reveals he has donated billions of dollars worth of shares over the last few months.
Though the recipient of the giant donation worth almost $6 billion hasn’t been revealed, the number and timing might give us a clue.
Last year, Musk took to Twitter to say that he would sell 10% of his stake in Tesla if a Twitter poll would agree, which it unsurprisingly did.
The CEO framed the situation as an idea that came from pressure from the media and politicians about the rich not paying taxes on unrealized gains and him being at the center of it as the world’s richest man.
However, Musk wasn’t as vocal about the fact that he was facing a giant tax bill regardless of his sale of shares, due to a large number of stock options he needs to exercise over the next year.
The new stock options he was receiving would have forced him to sell several billions in Tesla stock to cover his tax bill regardless of the Twitter poll situation.
As a matter of fact, Musk held the Twitter poll in November 2021 after already having agreed to a plan to exercise his stock options and sell roughly half of those new shares with the board in September.
The CEO ended up following through and selling close to 10% of his stake in Tesla by the end of the year.
Around the same time that this was happening, Musk made a controversial statement on Twitter about a headline that was going around claiming that 2% of his wealth could “end world hunger”:
The media was click-baiting using a comment made by David Muldrow, the executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme.
Musk was criticized for questioning the comment and asking for a plan on the specific Twitter thread even though the World Food Programme already had detailed the plan on its website.
But the WFP actually followed through and reframed the plan into a Twitter thread:
The plan includes spending about half of the money to directly deliver food to the most vulnerable in specific regions hit by famine, and the rest would be used to set up a voucher program for people to purchase food locally and improve the local food economy.
Now a few months later, Tesla has released a new SEC filing on Valentine’s Day revealing that Musk donated just over 5 million shares worth close to $6 billion at the end of November.
The filing doesn’t reveal the recipient of the money, but the WFP is suspected to be the recipient due to the amount and the timing. The NYTimes posits it might also be a tax dodge and might be to his own foundation which Musk controls.
The gift came as Musk sold many more billions in stock. He sold more than $16 billion worth of shares in November and December, much of which was meant to cover tax obligations after exercising stock options. At the time, Musk tweeted that he would be likely to pay over $11 billion in taxes, one of the biggest individual bills in U.S. history. The stock donation could be useful in defraying that bill.
Neither Musk or the WFP have commented on the situation.
Did Musk follow through on the potentially “world hunger-ending” donation? We will have to wait to find out.
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