The value of Elon Musk's Tesla Motors dropped about $1.1 billion after the close today. When will he, and the adults around him, learn?
Welp. Friday at Tesla and at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission should be interesting. Have fun with that, Board of Directors and SEC officers. On Thursday afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, we regret to inform you that Elon Musk is at it again with the crazy tweets.
Just four minutes later, it would have gone out at the marijuana-associated time of 4:20 on the East Coast. Musk, the world's least chill potential stoner, got himself and Tesla in $20 million dollars of trouble for his last 420 joke.
The value of his company dropped about $1.1 billion after the close anyway. As well it might. Because, while this isn’t the first tweet of questionable wisdom issued by Musk (see “pedo guy,” for example), he really picked his target this time (assuming his account wasn’t hacked).
While it’s obviously getting hard to keep up, you may recall Musk just settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was suing him for misleading shareholders with that whole funding-secured thing. In its complaint, the SEC documented Musk’s extensive complaints about short sellers having it in for Tesla. Having first called the SEC’s action unjustified, Musk quickly settled for a $20 million fine and giving up the chairmanship for three years, while retaining the position of CEO (the stock had dropped 14 percent in the intervening day or so). Tesla, meanwhile, was supposed to add new independent directors and implement controls overseeing Musk’s communications.
So now … Musk decided to … make a joke … about the SEC ... enabling the short sellers … on Twitter.
I’ve no idea what the SEC’s sense of humor is like. But the regulators had been criticized already for letting Musk off relatively lightly. So openly mocking them seems a somewhat bold move. Especially as the settlement must yet be justified to a district judge in order for it be approved.
Guessing whether another tweet could really blow up this settlement would just be that: guessing. Either way, Tesla’s shareholders just got another reminder of the vacuum of governance at this company.