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  • Marijan Hassan - Tech Journalist

Major win for Elon Musk as shareholders approve $56 billion pay package

In a win for Elon Musk, Tesla shareholders voted on Thursday to approve his controversial $56 billion compensation package. The record-breaking deal, consisting of stock options tied to Tesla's performance, was originally approved in 2018 but struck down by a Delaware court earlier this year.

The vote at Tesla's annual meeting saw strong support from the electric car company's army of individual investors, propelling the measure over the finish line. "Hot damn, I love you guys," Musk reportedly declared to a cheering crowd after the results were announced.

The attending crowd was treated to a video highlighting Tesla’s achievements in sustainability, new product lineups, and its innovation pipeline. The video opened with past criticisms of the company, specifically a comment made by Tesla bear, Per Lekander, predicting the downfall of the automotive industry.

Musk, with characteristic confidence, dismissed these concerns and outlined his vision for a future hinged on fully autonomous vehicles. He believes this could increase Tesla's value by a staggering 110 times.

“I think just based on vehicle autonomy, we can we can 110x the value of the company. I believe that's what will happen,” Musk said.

Longtime Tesla supporter Cathie Wood of ARK Invest fund echoed Musk's optimism, projecting an $8 trillion market cap and a $2,600 share price by 2029. Her analysis hinges on self-driving cars transforming Tesla into a software company with recurring revenue from every mile driven on its autonomous taxi network.

Musk has in the past shared that once the full self-driving software is complete, it will be uploaded to all cars in the market creating a fleet of self-driving cars that would be monetized by emulating the business models of both Uber and Airbnb.

“It might be the biggest asset value appreciation in history when that happens,...when you can do unsupervised, full self-driving,” Musk said. “If you’re going away for a week, just one tap on your Tesla app, your car gets added to the fleet and it just makes money for you while you're gone.”

Musk then acknowledged his tendency to over-promise sometimes but noted that it’s the big dreams that have made Tesla a reality.

“Now admittedly, I'm a little optimistic sometimes,” Musk said “So I don't have a complete lack of self-awareness. But if I wasn't optimistic, this wouldn't exist, this factory wouldn't exist.”

Despite the shareholder vote, the saga surrounding Musk's pay isn't over. The Delaware judge's decision remains in effect, and legal experts anticipate further challenges. The court may scrutinize the vote to ensure it wasn't influenced by Musk and require Tesla to demonstrate the package aligns with shareholder interests.


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