Current, former Tesla board members cash in on stock rally

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo was seen at the Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS / Aly Song

BANGALORE / SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Tesla Inc board member Ira Ehrenpreis sold more than $ 200 million worth of shares in the electric car maker on Wednesday after the stock first crossed the $ 1,000 limit to reach a record, according to records.

Antonio Gracias, a former Tesla board member whose term expired earlier this month, also filed his planned sale of shares worth $ 610 million the same day, applications showed.

Tesla became the fifth company to reach the trillion-dollar benchmark on Monday after an agreement with rental car company Hertz, and after it recorded its best quarterly revenue and profits.

Independent Director Ehrenpreis exercised options to buy 370,000 shares for about $ 50 each Wednesday before their expiration in June next year, applications to the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission showed.

The venture capitalist, who has been a member of Tesla’s board of directors since May 2007, then sold 203,429 shares for as high as $ 1,068.38 per share. The shares are worth about $ 214 million, according to Reuters’ calculation.

Gracias, CEO of private equity firm Valor, also filed plans to sell $ 338,493 worth of $ 351 million and an additional $ 250,000 worth of $ 259 million, which he owns indirectly through the AJG Growth Fund, the applications showed.

He had been a member of the board since May 2007, before his term expired in October. Known as a close friend of Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk, he is the director of SpaceX and was director of SolarCity until Tesla took over in 2016.

Current and former board members, including Musk, will reap unexpected gains from Tesla’s stock gains with a large number of shares and stock options.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco, Nivedita Balu in Bangalore and David Shepardson in Washington; Edited by Marguerita Choy and Stephen Coates

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