Tesla shareholders are currently suing Elon Musk for tweets he made five years ago. In the tweets, the CEO talked about taking Tesla private, going as far as to say that funding had been secured to do so. That never ended up happening, and Tesla remains a publicly traded company. While defending himself in court, Musk claims that those tweets weren’t fraud. He even says that he would have dumped his SpaceX stock if that’s what it took to take Tesla private.
Musk’s comments were made during a court appearance in San Francisco this week, as we learned through CNBC. Testifying under oath, he clarified that he had made a verbal agreement with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, though the deal never materialized. Even when that deal fell through, Musk believed that the entirety of his SpaceX shares would be enough to take Tesla private. “SpaceX stock alone meant ‘funding secured’ by itself. It’s not that I want to sell SpaceX stock but I could have, and if you look at the Twitter transaction — that is what I did. I sold Tesla stock to complete the Twitter transaction. And I would have done the same here.” Elon Musk is SpaceX’s largest shareholder.
When Musk was originally chatting about taking Tesla private in 2018, he said that it would be done for $420 a share; a number that references marijuana (and has become an internet culture meme), one that Elon Musk is a well-documented fan of. Tesla shareholders’ attorney Nicholas L. Porritt of Levi & Korsinsky asked Musk if this was a joke. “There is some, I think, karma around 420… I should question whether that is good or bad karma at this point.”
In the time since those tweets, Elon Musk has become the CEO of Twitter. Ironically, this also happened mainly because of the billionaire’s tweets. As the class action lawsuit plays out, we’ll be following to see which side comes out on top. Be sure to bookmark Shacknews’ Elon Musk topic page for future updates.