In a turn of events that stretches the boundaries of our understanding, Elon Musk took to Twitter yesterday to mock the SEC. The move comes in the same week that the CEO agreed to settle a suit with the regulator over his misleading tweets this summer. Musk tweeted yesterday afternoon that “Just want to [say] that the Shortseller Enrichment Commission is doing incredible work … And the name change is so on point!”. Legal experts say the tweets jeopardize his potential settlement the SEC as they violate specific clauses of the agreement.
FINSUM: We know he is a defiant character, but this kind of behavior seems to show extremely poor judgment, if not borderline mental instability.
Another tumultuous week for Tesla is in the books, but for the first time in a while, it looks the company may be headed in a positive direction. Last week, the SEC sued Elon Musk for fraud based on his tweets about taking the company private, which sent the stock plunging. However, on Saturday, it was announced that Musk had reached a settlement with the regulator, agreeing to give up his chairmanship of the board, in addition to a $20m fine, but remaining CEO. This news sent the stock soaring in pre-market trading.
FINSUM: This seems like a better operational and governance structure for Tesla and we hope it will prove a positive development.
Tesla investors got some grim news yesterday (unless you are the group hoping for Musk’s departure). That news is that the SEC is suing Elon Musk for fraud and is seeking to have him removed as the leader of Tesla. The suit seeks to have Musk banned from serving as an officer or director of a public company. The basis for the suit is the series of tweets Musk made regarding taking the company private, which the SEC says were “false and misleading statements”.
FINSUM: This is a pretty serious move from the SEC, made worse by news out today that Musk chose the price of $420 as a marijuana reference to impress his girlfriend.
While the SEC seems to have largely shrank from the limelight surrounding its investigation of Tesla, there is news on that front, and in a big way. The DOJ is now investigating Tesla, and specifically, it has launched a criminal investigation into Elon Musk’s now infamous tweet about taking the company private. The investigation sits alongside a civil inquiry by the SEC. Tesla said it had received a “voluntary request” for documents but that there was no “subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process”.
FINSUM: Hard to see where this may go, but we imagine it could turn into a big headache (and distraction) for Musk and the company, as well as its shareholders.
Investors are currently anxious about the SEC’s investigation of Tesla and Elon Musk, not only over the infamous tweet, but also about guidance the company has given over the years. However, Bloomberg says investors shouldn’t be worried because the SEC is unlikely to take any serious action. Bloomberg points out that the San Francisco office of the SEC is woefully understaffed and outgunned and has almost no history of going after top tech executives, something that has led the tech sector to act with more impunity than in finance.
FINSUM: We aren’t sure we like this analysis much. If there were ever a time the SEC might want to make a statement, this would be it.