Elon Musk claims that he could sell his SpaceX shares to buy Tesla into private ownership, and was not going to do it unambiguously. The allegation came during Musk’s testimony as a witness in a company shareholder lawsuit over his 2018 Twitter post that led to a reduction in share price.
Musk said: “SpaceX shares in and of themselves meant secured funding. It’s not that I wanted to sell shares of SpaceX, but I could. And if you look at the transaction on Twitter, this is what I did. I sold Tesla shares to complete a twitter transaction. And I would do the same here.”
The plaintiffs’ lawsuit is based on Musk’s infamous tweet in 2018 in which he said he was “considering privatizing Tesla for $420 [за акцию]”. Then Tesla shares temporarily stopped trading and remained volatile in the following weeks. At the time, Musk was saying that just because he tweets something, people shouldn’t necessarily take it as a guide to action.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
This time, Musk repeated his earlier claim that he had an agreement with the Saudi Arabian State Investment Fund to privatize Tesla. He told the court that the country unconditionally supported the deal, which ultimately fell through. The court discussed his communication and possible quarrel with Saudi fund manager Yasser Al-Rumayyan over the deal. The jurors were reportedly presented with a text message exchange in which Musk accused Al Rumayan of backing out of their agreement. A Saudi spokesman responded that he did not have enough information to commit to a ransom and called Musk’s public statement reckless.
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The judge in that case had already determined that his tweets were “objectively false and reckless.” However, plaintiffs have yet to prove that Musk knew his tweets were misleading and that his tweets caused damages in order to win the case.
The court rejected Elon Musk’s request – he will have to continue to coordinate his tweets about Tesla with a lawyer even after buying Twitter
Sources: Engadget, Bloomberg, CNBC, Reuters illustration