Two years ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission over “privatization”,media reported. In this case, Musk, who was supposed to have suffered, ended up making tens of millions of dollars.
Musk’s “money in place” tweet sued by SEC
Let’s take a quick look back at the reasons for this. In 2018, Musk said on Twitter that he was considering privatizing Tesla for $420 a share, and later said he had “got the money it needed to privatize.” Soon after, Musk said he had abandoned plans to privatize and that Tesla would continue to maintain its image as a public company. The SEC found Musk’s claim to be untrue, and a paper petition brought Tesla and Musk himself to court. The matter ended with Musk reaching a settlement with the SEC.
As part of the settlement, Musk agreed to step down as tesla chairman, and both Tesla and Musk paid a $20 million fine to the SEC.
But the CEO probably didn’t want Tesla to be punished for his personal comments, and while he couldn’t pay a fine on Tesla’s behalf, he decided to buy an additional $20 million worth of Tesla stock to cover the company’s losses. In this “indirect compensation” approach, Musk increased his stake in Tesla by 71,000 shares.
The last Musk to laugh
Two years into the fast-track, Tesla’s share price has soared since then, and if Musk now says he wants to privatize the company for $42 billion a share, everyone will find it a joke. Yesterday, Tesla’s shares closed at $1,371 a share.
At that price, Musk’s share price, which he bought for $20 million after being fined by the SEC, has now risen to more than $97 million.
That means that, instead of costing him a loss, Musk’s settlement netted more than $50 million, excluding a $20 million fine against Tesla and a $20 million fine against Musk himself.
For a few days, Musk has been “making fun of” the SEC, calling it a “short enrichment committee” and saying that teslas are sending Tesla’s new “short shorts” to the agency, and that Tesla’s only purpose in launching the product is to mock those who short tesla stocks.