Musk tweet knocks $14bn off Tesla market value
Elon Musk tweeted a complaint about Tesla’s share price that wiped $14bn off the company’s stock market value on Friday morning.
The seven-word tweet was the latest controversial outburst from the outspoken chief executive, whose outpourings on Twitter have landed him in hot water before.
An incorrect claim in the middle of 2018 that he was close to a buyout of Tesla led to a complaint from the US Department of Justice and a settlement that involved Mr Musk agreeing not to issue market-moving tweets in future without first clearing them with his company’s legal department.
Tesla did not immediately confirm whether Mr Musk’s tweet had been given legal clearance, and did not respond to a question about whether the company currently has a general counsel.
Tesla lost three general counsels last year, one of them quitting after only two months.
“We view these Musk comments as tongue in cheek and it’s Elon being Elon. It’s certainly a headache for investors for him to venture into this area as his tweeting remains a hot button issue and [Wall] Street clearly is frustrated,” Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives told Reuters news agency.
In 2018, Mr Musk tweeted that he may have secured funding to possibly remove Tesla from the stock market and take it private, which again led to swings in the share price.
The Securities and Exchange Commission judged it a market-moving comment, fined him and forced Tesla to put in place checks to ensure it did not happen again.
But last month, a federal judge said Tesla and Musk must face a lawsuit by shareholders over the going-private tweet, including a claim that Mr Musk intended to defraud them.
Earlier this week he tweeted to his 33.4 million followers some strong criticism of US stay-at-home restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2019 he found himself in court last year after tweeting that a British diver was a “pedo guy”.
Mr Musk said the promise to sell his possessions included his house, formerly owned by actor and producer Gene Wilder, and bought in 2013.
“One stipulation on sale,” he tweeted, “I own Gene Wilder’s old house. It cannot be torn down or lose any of its soul.”