Musk: I had enough funds to take Tesla private
On his second day of testimony in a court case where he is accused of artificially boosting Tesla’s stock price with a tweet, Musk says that he had sufficient financial backing to take Tesla private. Musk says he believed it was “a done deal” that the Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund would support a possible attempt to take Tesla private at $420 a share, a 20 per cent premium at the time, though he acknowledged there was no contract and that many details had not been worked out.
Musk said the PIF had “many multiples” of what was required to take Tesla private, especially because it was not expected to purchase the entire company, and added that his own shares in SpaceX, his rocket company, would make up for any shortfall.
It’s important for the jury to know that
Musk, said it was “difficult to say” if Tesla shares would rise or fall based on his tweet, because markets can act in “counter-intuitive” ways, but admitted it was more likely it would rise.
I expected that there (would) probably be some increase in the stock price — seems likely. If you say that you’re considering taking a company private or acquiring a company . . . there is going to be some premium . . . In this case, I’m clear about what the premium would be.
Mussk disagreed with the shareholders’ lawyers, who suggested the $420 price was based on a reference to cannabis that his girlfriend at the time found funny, saying he was applying a 20 per cent premium to the stock, then rounding up slightly.
There is some karma around 420, although I’d question (whether it) is good or bad karma, at this point
Musk defends $55 billion compensation plan in court
Musk defends his $55 billion pay award in a Delaware court, in a suit brought by Gregory Vallo, a Tesla shareholder. The plaintiff alleges that the compensation package, which called for Musk to reap billions if Tesla hit certain market capitalization and operational milestones, was approved by Tesla board members who had conflicts interest due to personal and professional ties to Musk.
Musk would receive the full benefit of the pay plan, $55.8 billion, only if Tesla hit a market capitalization of $650 billion and unprecedented revenue and earnings within a decade. To date, Tesla, under Musk’s management, has achieved all 12 of the market capitalization milestones and 11 operational milestones, providing Musk over $52.4 billion in stock option gains
Musk says he did not dicate the terms of the package, or attend any meetings at which the plan was discussed by the board, its compensation committee, or a working group that helped develop it.
I was entirely focused on the execution of the company,
Varallo also questioned Musk about how he splits his time among Tesla and his other companies. Musk said he never intended to be CEO of Tesla, and that he didn’t want to be chief executive of any other companies either, preferring to see himself as an engineer instead.
The suit also alleges the shareholder vote approving the compensation plan was based on a misleading proxy statement.