Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Sunday, Feb 05, 2023

Buying Tesla At $420 A Share Was No Joke: Elon Musk Over 2018 Tweet Trial

Buying Tesla At $420 A Share Was No Joke: Elon Musk Over 2018 Tweet Trial

Elon Musk testified that he understood the fund would do whatever it took to take Tesla private and had plenty of money to do it.
Elon Musk on Monday told jurors that his 2018 tweet about taking Tesla private at $420 a share was no joke and that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund was serious about helping him do it.

The Tesla chief returned to the witness stand to answer questions from lawyers for angry investors who accuse him of costing them millions of dollars with a pair of allegedly false tweets about having the funding secured to buy them out.

A lawyer for the plaintiffs focused on Musk's buyout figure of 420, a number that is also a popular rallying code for marijuana, which Musk uses.

"420 was not chosen because of a joke; it was chosen because there was a 20 percent premium over the stock price," Musk said when asked if he was having a laugh when he made the tweet.

Musk added, however, that there was "some karma around 420", though "I should question whether that is good or bad karma at this point."

The case revolves around a pair of tweets in which Musk said "funding secured" for a project to buy out the publicly-traded electric automaker, then in a second tweet added that "investor support is confirmed."

The tweets sent the Tesla share price on a rollercoaster ride and Musk was sued by shareholders who say the tycoon acted recklessly in an effort to squeeze investors who had bet, or "gone short," against the company.

Musk referred to short sellers as "evil" at the trial.

"It's difficult to appreciate just now just how much attack Tesla was under by short sellers who wanted Tesla to die," Musk told jurors.

'Done deal'

But Musk said he fired off the tweets at issue after learning of a Financial Times story about a Saudi Arabian investment fund wanting to acquire a stake in Tesla.

"My concern was that if they knew all of this information, then they could also potentially know about the take-private," Musk said of the news report.

Musk testified that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund was "unequivocally, without question" supportive of his project, adding that the head of the fund told him that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was also on board.

"So essentially I took that to mean it was a done deal," Musk said.

When confronted with exchanges with the Saudi fund that showed they wanted more details before committing to his buyout plan, Musk said the fund was "backpedalling".

Musk testified that he understood the fund would do whatever it took to take Tesla private and had plenty of money to do it.

The billionaire added that even without the Saudi fund, he had the personal wealth to take Tesla private at the time, including by using his shares in SpaceX, the company he also runs.

Musk said he had shared some details of his plan with tech billionaire and Tesla investor Larry Ellison, who is among witnesses slated to testify at the fraud trial.

During testimony last week, a Harvard professor called as a witness by the plaintiffs said that Musk's plans were "illusory" and deviated wildly from the way such mega-deals usually take place.

In his own opening remarks, Musk attorney Alex Spiro said that even though the tweets may have been a "reckless choice of words", they were "not fraud, not even close.

"I'm being accused of fraud; it's outrageous," Musk said as his lawyer took over the questioning on Monday.

The tycoon's testimony is set to conclude on Tuesday.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Close
0:00
0:00
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
Hong Kong airlines taking bold action after the years of pandemic lockdown and travel restrictions, to make Hong Kong great again
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
Chinese search giant Baidu to launch ChatGPT like AI chatbot.
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Preparations begin for Spring Festival travel rush
×