Elon Musk said Monday he did not lie or misrepresent his plan to delist Tesla from the stock market in 2018, testifying in federal court that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund “wants to take Tesla private.”
Investors Mr. Musk is suing Tesla and the company’s board because they told Mr. Musk about his plan to take Tesla private.
On August 7, 2018, Mr. wrote On Twitter: “Considering a Tesla at $420. Finance is safe.” Then he said wrote: “Investor support confirmed. The only reason it’s not certain is that it’s subject to a shareholder vote. Tesla’s stock rose after those posts, but then fell as the proposal fell through.
Jurors Mr. How Musk interprets the statements and their impact on investors could be crucial to the outcome of the case, which is being tried in San Francisco. A win for investors is Mr. Musk and Tesla will have to pay billions of dollars in damages. But winning the case Mr. Musk will allow his critics to argue against him.
The judge overseeing the case, Edward M. Chen has already ruled that the “financials are safe” and Mr. Musk’s second statement is false.
In this investigation Mr. Musk has testified for about four hours so far and is scheduled to appear again on Tuesday. He responded to questions Monday about Saudi Arabia’s public investment fund, the plaintiffs’ attorney, who pressed him for more details about his plan to take the company private. Mr. Musk said.
“It’s impossible to know the exact amount without knowing who else will participate,” he said. But he added that he believes “if they say they’re going to do something, they will.”
Delisting a public company can be expensive and difficult. Individuals or investment firms looking to take a business private must bring in cash to buy all or most of its shares.
Mr. The Saudi fund, which had amassed a 5 percent stake in Tesla before Musk announced his plans, would have been an important part of any deal. Mr. Musk has long maintained that Saudi investors are committed to the transaction.
Mr. Text messages between Musk and Yasir al-Rumaian, who oversees Saudi finance, emerged in court filings last year. In that news, Mr. Musk criticized Mr Al-Rumaian. Mr. Tesla and Mr. Musk did not provide enough information to pursue funding. Al-Rumayan said in the speeches. Mr. Musk, Mr. referred to al-Rumayan’s texts as “backpedaling”.
Mr. Musk and Tesla’s legal team tried unsuccessfully to compel the fund’s employees to testify at the hearing. This month, lawyers for the fund called the subpoenas “legally flawed” and “frankly, frivolous.” A spokesperson for the fund did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Mr. Musk testified that “financial security” refers not only to funding from Saudi funds, but also to his stake in the rocket company SpaceX, of which he is chief executive. Mr. Musk could theoretically borrow against his stake in SpaceX or sell some of that stock to come up with the cash needed to take Tesla private.
“This is a very important point, and you seem to be deliberately avoiding it,” said Mr. Musk told plaintiffs’ attorney Nicholas Porritt. But Mr. Under questioning from Porritt, Mr. Musk agreed. He later said he used those shares in a deposition that was part of it Investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission To take Tesla personally Mr. In Musk’s efforts.
Asked if he thought pricing Tesla at $420 a share would be “a joke your girlfriend would enjoy,” Mr. Musk said, “There’s about $420 worth of karma, though I have to question whether that’s good or bad. Period.” He said he took $420 because Tesla’s stock was about 20 percent higher than it was at the time.
Mr. Musk, dressed in a dark suit and black surgical mask, entered the courtroom and walked straight to the witness stand. He nodded to the jurors as they entered. “He had trouble sleeping last night” and said his back was hurting. Musk, sometimes Mr. Porrit pushed back after asking the questions. Judge Chen said Mr. Musk was told at least three times.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers said Mr. Musk argued that people made investment decisions because of what Musk said. But Mr. Lawyers for Musk and Tesla said Mr. Trump was considering taking Tesla private. Investors have said they can make decisions based on what Musk has said — which his lawyers say is true.
Legal experts say most companies and CEOs would have settled such a case. But Mr. Musk has often shown a willingness to allow lawsuits filed against him and Tesla to go to trial.
In testimony Friday, Mr. Musk acknowledged that his Twitter account provided sensitive information about Tesla and that it had to follow SEC rules. But he said his social media posts don’t necessarily cause fluctuations in Tesla’s stock price. He also said Tesla can’t be as detailed on Twitter as it is in SEC filings and press releases.
Mr. Musk also said that before he posted about taking Tesla personally, his friends, Tesla executives and investors suggested he take a break from Twitter.
In 2018, Mr. Musk and Tesla settled a separate lawsuit with the SEC over his proposal to take Tesla private. They paid a fine to the SEC, and Mr. Musk agreed to step down as chairman of Tesla and Mr. Musk allowed a lawyer to review some statements about the company before releasing them on social media.
Mr. The investigation began three months after Musk bought Twitter. Since then, he has fired most of its staff, changed its content rules and allowed previously banned or suspended users back on the platform.
After attempts to take Tesla private ended in 2018, the company began producing more cars, which boosted its stock and made it easier for Tesla to raise billions of dollars by selling shares. But last year Mr. The company’s stock price fell as Musk sold shares to finance his acquisition of Twitter and faced stiff competition from Tesla.