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Investor's Corner

Elon Musk unlocks 2nd mega-bonus milestone after Tesla soars to $159 billion

Elon Musk custom Tesla-branded Nike shoes (Credit: DMCustomSneakers via Instagram)

Tesla stock (Nasdaq: TSLA) rose yet again to new heights following a meteoric $100 per share surge at the beginning of this week and closing at $887 at the end of the trading day on Tuesday. The new record sets Tesla’s market capitalization at $159 billion, thereby taking Tesla CEO Elon Musk one step closer to the second tranche in his massive multi-billion payout package passed in 2018.

If Musk is able to maintain a $150 billion average market capitalization for all trading days in the applicable trailing six calendar month period or 30 calendar day period, he will have cleared the second market capitalization milestone in his shareholder-approved payment plan. He must also meet certain operational targets to unlock the second tranche of twelve. Musk passed the first market value milestone earlier this month when Tesla broke the $100 billion barrier. Each time Musk unlocks one of the 12 tranches in his 10-year payment plan, he moves another step closer to unlocking 20 million stock options.

The Tesla chief does not have a salary. Instead, he is on a 10-year performance package that includes stock options that vest only if he succeeds in meeting certain market capitalization and operational milestones. It’s a high-risk plan but it’s designed to ensure Musk executes. It’s also bound to ring in massive rewards for the electric vehicle titan, since he could stand to gain Tesla stocks with a potential worth of $55 billion. At the time shareholders approved the payment plan in 2018, the package was worth $2.6 billion.

Musk’s performance package is patterned closely to a similar 5-year payment plan approved for him in 2012. The new package consists of 12 tranches, with each tranche requiring Musk to meet a market capitalization and an operational milestone. For each tranche, Musk has the option to vest in stocks that correspond to 1% of Tesla’s total outstanding shares at the time the plan was approved.

The first tranche is unlocked when Tesla hits $100 billion in market capitalization and achieves a separate operational goal. Each succeeding tranche must see Tesla adding another $50 billion to its market value along with an operational target. The ultimate goal is to hit a total of $650 billion in market capitalization in 10 years, which will put Tesla somewhere around the league of Apple and Google, which are valued at $1.4 trillion and $996 billion respectively.

Tesla is currently valued past $150 billion, which puts it way ahead of the Big Three car companies in the US. Its current market value is greater than General Motors ($49 billion), Ford ($36 billion), and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ($18 billion) combined. If Tesla continues to see more of its financial gains, it may not take long before it overtakes Toyota, which is currently valued at $229 billion, as the most valuable car company in the world.

The latest rise comes after another huge surge in stock prices after Tesla partner Panasonic reported profits for the first quarter due to its partnership with Giga Nevada. The Japanese battery maker announced that Tesla ramping up production of its electric vehicles has allowed Panasonic to push down costs and erase losses. Tesla stock rose by more than 20% and ended the day at $780 following Panasonic’s earnings report.

Elon Musk unlocks 2nd mega-bonus milestone after Tesla soars to $159 billion
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