Bloomberg Quint – Musk on Cusp of $730 Million Award, Even After Tweet Tanks Stock

May 15, 2020

By Anders Melin and Dana Hull

Not even a pandemic — or a tweet — can push Elon Musk off the path toward claiming the first piece of his moonshot pay package.

Barring a sudden and massive plunge in the electric-car maker’s market value, its chief executive officer is poised to meet the final performance threshold needed to claim the first of 12 tranches as early as next week, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The options would yield Musk a windfall of about $730 million if he exercised them immediately and sold the shares, based on Thursday’s closing price, but that’s unlikely given that Musk, 48, hasn’t sold any Tesla stock for years, except to satisfy tax obligations.

It seemed like an insurmountable challenge when Tesla Inc. shareholders approved the award in March 2018. But a remarkable recent run-up in the stock has put the first payout within reach, and it’s highly unlikely that his Twitter feed will change that.

“Tesla stock price is too high,” he tweeted Friday. The shares promptly tumbled and were down 8.9% at 12:22 p.m. in New York.

The pay package is remarkable because of its sheer size and the lofty ambition that underpins it: turning Tesla into one of the world’s biggest companies, particulars be damned.

“It’s a lot of money going to one person,” said Robin Ferracone, chief executive officer of Farient Advisors, an executive-compensation consulting firm. “The quantum, even in the best of times — absent Covid-19 — seems overblown.”

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