Elon Musk turns to army of Tesla volunteers to hit targets


Musk's tweet about taking his company private, along with attacks on critics on social media, raised concerns with investors about whether Musk has become too focused on criticism from so-called short-sellers who had been making bets against him and Tesla.

Musk and Tesla will each pay $20 million under the settlement, the SEC said in a statement Saturday. In it, the regulatory body alleged that Musk made "false and misleading" statements in August tweets about his plans to take Tesla private at $420 a share. "Funding secured." Later on, the SEC ruled that Musk never went through with his declaration and deal between the company and the Saudi sovereign wealth fund set to foot the bill on the buyout.

Less than two days later, Musk and the SEC reached an agreement, in which he would step down as chairman for three years and pay a $20 million fine. On Friday, its stock dropped nearly 14 per cent.

"This is a good resolution for Tesla stakeholders", Ben Kallo, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. with the equivalent of a buy rating on the shares, said in an email.

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Tesla will now be appointing two new independent directors to its board. Andrew Doane, who has a Model S sedan, Model X crossover and Model 3 vehicle and is president of the Tesla Owners Club of the Mid-Atlantic region, mustered club members to pull shifts at delivery hubs in Virginia and Maryland, and worked one himself.

Even after the stock's slide from last year's peak, Tesla is valued at $45.2 billion in the stock market. The $40 million in fines will be distributed to investors who claim to have been financially harmed by Musk's premature communications.

Furthermore, it adds: "Despite notifying the market in 2013 that it intended to use Musk's Twitter account as a means of announcing material information about Tesla and encouraging investors to review Musk's tweets, Tesla had no disclosure controls or procedures in place to determine whether Musk's tweets contained information required to be disclosed in Tesla's SEC filings". However, if found guilty, Musk stood to lose a lot more than $20m and could have been ousted as CEO of the company.

It revealed facts based on emails, documents and interviews that private lawyers haven't gained access to yet, giving them a better chance of withstanding Tesla and Musk's attempts to get the shareholder suits thrown out, legal experts said.