Briefing

Soaring Tesla stock could trigger Elon Musk’s massive bonus package

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Tesla stock was up another 2.49 per cent Tuesday, closing at US$537.92. If it clears US$554.80, the company’s market cap reaches US$100 billion—and if it stays there, it triggers the beginning of an unusual compensation package its board created to “incentivize Musk to remain a fully engaged CEO.” (Financial Times)

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Talking point: The flamboyant Musk does not accept a salary from Tesla, but if the company reaches certain performance benchmarks by 2028, he gets a total of about US$56 billion in stock options. He owns 18.9 per cent of the company, currently worth more than US$18 billion. If its market cap stays above US$100 billion for six months—with either US$20 billion in revenue or US$1.5 billion in adjusted earnings—Musk gets a payout worth just under US$350 million. So long as he remains CEO, every subsequent US$50-billion increase in Tesla’s market value—with corresponding revenue or profit growth—unlocks another bonus, maxing out at a market cap of US$650 billion, with US$175 billion in revenues. Stockholders approved Musk’s package in March 2018, when Tesla was struggling to turn a profit; it is currently the subject of a legal challenge. The company’s current hot streak shows no signs of abating; some analysts are raising their target prices to US$600, and Musk is feeling confident enough to have begun selling a T-shirt making fun of its recent Cybertruck gaffe.