Investor's Corner

Who Are the Top 4 Tesla (TSLA) Shareholders?

Recent articles covering the top TSLA shareholders have concentrated on their percentage of the company shares. My interest is in the recent trading patterns, mostly involving options exercises, of these top shareholders. Here are the results on my analysis.

Elon Musk

I really do not need to give a bio of Elon. If you read this site you know everything about the man. He is the CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, and the Chairman of SolarCity.

Prior to the recent secondary Public offering, he owned about 29.57 million shares. His involvement in the latest offering included 3 major transactions: (1) the exercise of stock options to acquire 5,503,972 shares of Tesla’s common stock, (2) the sale of 2,782,670 shares of TSLA  common stock and (3) donating 1,200,000 shares of common stock to charity. If one also adds all of Mr. Musk shares plus all shares issuable to Musk if all options vested and exercisable within 60 days after March 31, 2016 were hypothetically exercised, Musk has beneficial ownership of 33,738,794 (33.73 million) shares or 22.5% of Tesla’s common stock.

Antonio J. Gracias

Antonio J. Gracias serves as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Investment Committee of private-equity-fund operator Value Equity Partners. His duties include overall responsibility for the Firm’s management, operations, and investing. He also sits on the boards of Tesla Motors (a company in which Valor invests), SolarCity and SpaceX.

According to his bio on the Tesla Investors site, “Mr. Gracias holds a joint B.S. and M.S.F.S. (honors degree) in International Finance and Economics from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. He also studied corporate structures and economic development at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan. Prior to completing his Masters, Mr. Gracias returned to Japan as a Nikko Securities Fellow. Mr. Gracias holds a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School. He is fluent in Spanish, proficient in Portuguese, and has a working knowledge of Japanese.”

In 2013, Mr Gracia was one of the subjects of the Wall Street Journal article “Directors Take Shelter in Trading Plans.”

According to the article, “These plans—opaque documents about which little is disclosed to regulators or the public—increasingly are moving beyond the executives for whom they were chiefly devised and finding favor with a different variety of insider: members of boards of directors, including some who run investment funds. Non-executive directors’ [such as Antonio J. Gracias] use of so-called 10b5-1 trading plans, which lay out future stock trades at set prices or on set dates, has jumped 55% since 2008, a Wall Street Journal analysis of regulatory filings found. […] Valor set up a 10b5-1 plan in November 2011 and Mr. Gracias reported the sale of 927,205 of Valor’s Tesla shares from March 9 through March 20, 2012, regulatory filings show [FORM 4]. In those 11 days, Valor sold $32 million of Tesla stock, more than half its stake. Tesla’s stock price soon got hit.’

There is no requirement to disclose the terms of trading plans. Even their existence often remains hidden. Tesla does report these types of transaction in FORM 4 disclosures.

Looking at the FORM 4 disclosures, a.k.a. Statement of Beneficial Ownership, for Antonio J. Gracias available on Tesla investor web site, for the past year, I discovered that he received several Non-Qualified Stock Option awards for his work as Director of Tesla: 50,000 with exercise of $261.89 on 6/18/2015, 51,000 with exercise of $250.69 on 6/12/2015. All these options are currently “under water” (below the current stock price) and effectively worthless, until the stock moves above the exercise price.

On 6/2 and 6/3, 2014 Antonio J. Gracias sold about $3 million of TSLA stock owned through his Trust and the AIJ Growth Fund.

As of May 15, 2016, Antonio Gracias held 254,647 shares of Tesla, which were worth approximately $56.5 million, and represent about 0.18% of Tesla’s common stock.

Kimbal Musk

According to Tesla Investors web site, “Kimbal Musk is CEO of Medium, Inc, an internet software company based in Boulder, Colo. Prior to Medium, he has been involved in many young businesses. Mr. Musk and his brother, Elon, started their first company, Zip2, an early content management company for the Internet, 1995. It was the first company to bring vector-based maps and door-to-door directions to the internet, and it built the online content management systems behind more than 100 media companies, including The New York Times. Zip2 was sold for $307 million in cash in 1999, one of the largest transactions of its kind in the internet industry.”

He sits on the board of Tesla Motors and SpaceX.

Looking at his latest filed FORM 4, Statement of Beneficial Ownership, on 5/2/2016 he exercised 5,555 non-qualified stock options, with exercise price of $29.6, and sold them at a $1.15 million profit.

As of May 15, 2016, Musk Kimbal held 152,325 shares of Tesla, which are worth approximately $33.81 million, and represent about 0.10% of Tesla’s common stock.

Jeffrey B. Straubel

Like Elon Musk, Jeffrey B. Straubel also known as “JB” needs no introduction as Chief Technology Officer of Tesla Motors.

According to the company’s Investors page, “As a co-founder of Tesla, JB has overseen the technical and engineering design of the vehicles, focusing on the battery, motor, power electronics, and high-level software sub-systems. Additionally, he evaluates new technology, manages vehicle systems testing, and handles technical interface with key vendors.”

Looking at the FORM 4 filings of the last couple of years for Jeffrey B. Straubel, two things are interesting to note. First on 4/11/2016 he was awarded 1,837 ISOs (Incentive Stock Options) and 61, 771 NSOs (Non-qualified Stock Options), at an exercise price of $249.92. As with Antonio Gracias, these options are underwater, and worthless at the moment, given the current stock price.

Secondly, between May 2015 and December 2015, Jeffrey B Straubel, set up pre-determined Rule 10b5-1 Trading Plan, where he would exercise and sell about 10,000 options in almost every month, on the 15th of the month. Accordingly, he exercised and sold 75,000 shares of stock, at prices between $206 and $263, for a total profit of about $17.8 million.  Not too shabby for the tech guy.

As of May 15, 2016, Jeffrey B. Straubel held 242,818 shares of Tesla, which are worth approximately $53.90 million, and represent about 0.17% of Tesla’s common stock.

Technical Analysis

Looking at today’s $TSLA stock action, TSLA is having a flat day like the rest of the market. The stock is still above the 200-day moving average, but the candle is forming a Doji, usually a sign of indecision. This could mean the end of the 10-session Heikin Ashi positive pay-day-cycle or just a pause in the up trend. I have a conditional stop at $220, that will ensure I keep some profits from the swing trade I started 12 trading-days ago.

This afternoon at 2PM PDT, the Tesla Motors Inc. 2016 Annual Shareholder’s Meeting is being held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA.. It will be streaming online at:


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