Activist investor shares theory on Elon Musk's eccentric behavior

07 October, 2018, 08:41 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • Wil James Murdoch be the new Chairman of Tesla?

A federal judge on Thursday gave Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission one week to justify their settlement to resolve securities fraud charges against the head of the electric vehicle company.

In a tweet Thursday, Musk congratulated the "Shortseller Enrichment Commission" for its "incredible work", noting its "name change is so on point!"

While the board has not engaged in any "serious" discussions of who should be the chairman, some members of Tesla's board of directors have proposed 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch take over the role of chairman following Elon Musk's settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Musk has long derided short sellers, who bet against a company's stock, for their thirst for Tesla's stock to decline.

Shares of Tesla extended earlier losses after Nathan issued her order, and were down $12.78, or 4.3 percent, at $282.02 in late afternoon trading.

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Over the weekend, Musk reached an agreement with the SEC to settle charges stemming from the now-infamous August 7 tweet about having "funding secured" to take the company private.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk apparently blasted federal regulators Thursday, less than a week after striking a settlement with them to resolve accusations that he misled investors with false statements. "Elon Musk's erratic behavior suggests that he sees it the same way".

The SEC filed a lawsuit on September 27 charging fraud and seeking to bar Musk from serving as an executive at any public company.

"It bolsters the SEC's argument that he is uncontrollable", Angotti said. "It's only inviting the SEC to rethink the settlement". And, why not? It should be noted that Tesla has just completed its third quarter and Musk promised that the company would deliver a profit this time.

USA district judge Alison Nathan had earlier in the day requested Musk and the SEC send an explanation of the deal in a joint letter by 11 October, justifying why it was fair and in the public interest.

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The SEC declined to comment.

Following the SEC settlement, Musk agreed to pay a $20m fine and step aside as Tesla's chairman for three years.

"I don't think the SEC would look at this as a denial of the facts alleged", said Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Former federal prosecutor Jay Hulings said in a report by CNBC: "It's odd given the nature of this settlement".

Later Thursday, Musk returned to Twitter to deride short-sellers.

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