Tesla shares had been below stress on Monday after hundreds of thousands of Twitter customers polled by chief govt Elon Musk concluded that he ought to promote 10 per cent of his stake within the electrical carmaker.

The 24-hour ballot, which was performed over the weekend, is the newest stunt by Musk to thrill followers however threat controversy. When asserting the ballot on Saturday, Musk mentioned on Twitter that he would abide by its outcome.

The Tesla chief’s decision to throw open to the Twittersphere whether or not to promote greater than $20bn of shares comes because the query of tips on how to tax billionaires has gained some political traction within the US.

By early on Monday in New York, Musk, who boasts 62.7m Twitter followers, had but to answer the results of a ballot during which 58 per cent of the three.5m who voted mentioned the entrepreneur ought to promote the stake.

Shares in Tesla, which have surged nearly 70 per cent this yr, catapulting the group’s worth past $1tn, had been down simply over 5 per cent in pre-market buying and selling in New York.

The web ballot divided opinion. Some heralded the potential advantages if Musk does promote, whereas others speculated that the 50-year-old, whose Twitter following dwarfs that of different enterprise leaders, was merely in search of backing for a sale he could have wished to make anyway.

“On the floor, that is nice information, you get extra liquidity and a billionaire paying tax,” mentioned Philippe Houchois, an automotive analyst at Jefferies, who believes Musk will observe by means of on his promise to promote.

It “can be damaging to [Musk’s] picture if he didn’t” go on to promote the shares, Houchois added.

Musk flagged at a convention in September that he was more likely to promote shares within the fourth quarter as he has choices that expire early subsequent yr.

If he goes forward, the vote will trigger an enormous block of Tesla shares to hit the market. Based mostly on Friday’s closing worth, Musk’s 17 per cent stake in Tesla was value $208bn. He didn’t point out when or how he would get rid of the inventory.

The meteoric rise in Tesla’s shares has made Musk billions of {dollars} by means of a controversial compensation bundle agreed three years in the past, below which he has been in a position to train massive tranches of inventory choices when the carmaker meets sure efficiency targets and its shares hit pre-determined ranges.

The Tesla chief earlier this month additionally mentioned he was open to promoting $6bn of shares and donating the proceeds to the World Meals Programme however provided that the organisation informed him how it will use the cash to finish poverty.

His use of Twitter has marked Musk, who at current types himself as “Lorde Edge” on the platform, out from different enterprise executives but in addition drawn scrutiny from regulators, notably over a 2018 tweet that he had the “funding secured” to take the corporate personal.

In 2019, Musk agreed to a take care of the US Securities and Change Fee over new restrictions on his use of social media.

Houchois of Jefferies reckoned that Musk would “hold pushing the boundaries” on social media as “nothing has actually blown up in his face to this point”.

With reporting by Richard Waters in San Francisco