Tesla has been in a very rough patch recently, with shares dropping swiftly and deeply. However, where are things headed next? Well, an important “insider” indicator just flashed that you need to know about. Two Tesla directors have been heavily selling stock this year, showing that those close to the company are not bullish. Directors Buss and Gracias have sold nearly $47m of stock in 2019, and total sales by insiders are around $68m, almost 5x the total selling of last year.
FINSUM: We think this is quite a troubling sign and does not give us any conviction about a rebound.
Love Tesla cars but scared of their company’s cash burn and Elon Musk-related antics? There is a way to invest in the company without buying the stock. Tesla has issued automobile asset-backed securities, or bonds with coupon payments backed by lease payments from Tesla customers. Last year, the carmaker sold $1.5bn of such bonds, which are not backed by the company’s cash flow, but directly by lessee’s payments. One portfolio manager put it this way, “Oftentimes, investors get Tesla the company and Tesla the car confused, but in this case, you really get to separate the two out”. The bonds issued have various tranches divided up by credit quality.
FINSUM: This seems like a smart way to invest in Tesla without all the volatility related to Elon Musk and the company’s cash flow struggles.
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.