Elon Musk resigns, pays $20m fine in settlement with SEC
02 October, 2018, 21:55 | Author: Frank Williams
Tesla jumped in pre-market trading after Elon Musk settled a United States lawsuit over his take-private tweet storm, reassuring investors that the billionaire will keep calling the shots at the electric-car maker he's said is on the verge of profitability.
Tesla shares plunged around 14 percent on Friday, the day after the SEC charged Musk with misleading investors, and are down 30 percent since his August 7 tweet saying he was considering taking the company private at $420 a share.
Musk and Tesla each agreed to pay a $20 million fine. The electric car-making company must also appoint two new independent directors to its board, establish a new committee of independent directors and implement additional oversight of Musk's future communications.
Moreover, Both Tesla and Musk will pay $20 million in fines that will be distributed in a court-approved process to the investors that were potentially harmed by Musk's Twitter activity.
But several experienced litigators said Monday that, while the DOJ probe is separate, the SEC's settlement could mark the end of official action against Tesla and Musk. The SEC also said that Tesla had not put any procedures in place to determine that Musk's tweets about the company were accurate or complete. Some have argued Musk should even give up the CEO role and assume a post such as chief technical officer. During those three months, it built a total of 80,142 electric vehicles, of which 53,239 were the somewhat more affordable Model 3.
Musk tweeted on August 7, 2018, that he could take Tesla private at a substantial premium price, accounting to $420 per share.
Elon Musk hasn't been one to shy from controversy.
Model 3 production, while impressive, is still also far below the target Tesla set itself in its Q2 investor update.
"Tesla and the board of directors are fully confident in Elon, his integrity, and his leadership of the company, which has resulted in the most successful United States auto company in over a century", it said in a statement before the settlement with the SEC was reached.
Over the weekend, Musk emailed his staff to tell them to "ignore the distractions" and to claim that Tesla is "very close" to finally becoming profitable.
Investors are cheering Tesla'sdeal with the SEC that keeps Elon Musk as the CEO. As Tesla's largest shareholder, Musk is likely to retain a seat on the board and have influence in determining his successor as chair.
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Likewise, Tesla will pay another $20 million due to its failure to check whether Musk's announcements complied with the law. In the agreement, Musk will resign as Chairman but will remain CEO and also a member of the board.
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