Last week was certainly one of the most tumultuous in Tesla’s short history. After the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) sued Elon Musk, shares in Tesla [TSLA] plummeted. The SEC claimed Musk had committed fraud when he tweeted in August that he was considering taking the company private and had the funds to do so already lined up.
On Saturday, Musk, Tesla, and the SEC agreed to a settlement. Musk and the company will each pay a $20 million fine. In addition, Musk will step aside as chairman of the board for three years — although he will remain as CEO of the company — and two independent people will be added to the board. Speculation about and suggestions for who the new chairman and the two new board members will be is rampant, but nobody knows at this point. The terms of the settlement must be met within 45 days.
These events all happened just as the third quarter of 2018 was drawing to a close, which means people are curious to know whether the company hit its goal of producing more than 50,000 Model 3 sedans in the past three months and whether Musk’s suggestion on the last earnings call about the company earning a profit will be true.
There is plenty of speculation whirling around the internet — that’s for sure. The company usually announces production numbers within 48 hours after the end of a quarter and final financial information about 30 days later.
Over the weekend, Musk sent two emails to Tesla employees, both of them encouraging. According to CNBC, the first of them went out last Friday, before the settlement with the SEC was finalized. It read, “Ignore all distractions. One more hardcore weekend and we will all be victorious. Thanks for being amazing.”
Then on Sunday, Musk added this note. “We are very close to achieving profitability and proving the naysayers wrong, but to be certain, we must execute really well tomorrow (Sunday). If we go all out tomorrow, we will achieve an epic victory beyond all expectations. Go Tesla!! Thanks for all your hard work.” Some of our own team here at CleanTechnica helped with that all-out effort, and it sounded successful.
So, now, we wait for the official financial and production numbers to be released. In the meantime, Tesla shares jumped again after the SEC settlement was announced. Some have visualized how the SEC lawsuit could be seen as a TSLA bear trap, ironically.
Elon Musk will continue leading Tesla and this tumult will hopefully be just a blip on the radar screen as the company regains its footing and continues to lead the charge to make fossil fuels irrelevant.
If you are an investor, the stock price sleigh ride will likely continue. If you believe in Elon and his high-wire act, sit back and enjoy your popcorn. If not, there will undoubtedly be times in the future when you can claim, “See? I told you so.” Through it all, Elon will continue to do what Elon does, although hopefully he will be a little more circumspect when using Twitter in the future.
For you conspiracy theorists out there, it may be interesting to know the same SEC that leapt into action over an Elon tweet also concluded a 2 year investigation into ExxonMobil, during which it reviewed more than 4 million documents. The probe centered on whether the company was truthful with its shareholders with regard to the risks to its business posed by climate change. In the end, the SEC decide to close the investigation without taking any action according to a report by the Associated Press.
That announcement came on the same day the Trump maladministration announced it was rolling back the fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks put in place under president Obama. Coincidence? We leave that to you to decide.