Elon Musk’s mysterious ways on display in Tesla tweet trial

SAN FRANCISCO: Elon Musk’s enigmatic temperament and unconventional methods are rising as essential exhibits in a trial revolving close to a person of his most polarising pursuits — tweeting.

The trial, centered on a pair of tweets saying Musk experienced attained the funds to get Tesla private in 2018, reeled the 51-year-old billionaire into a federal courtroom in San Francisco for three times of testimony that opened a peephole into his frequently inscrutable mind.

Musk, who now owns the Twitter provider that he deploys as his megaphone, was often a study in contrasts during his around eight several hours on the stand. The CEO of the electric carmaker is struggling with a course-action lawsuit submitted on behalf of Tesla shareholders after Musk tweeted about a company buyout that didn’t take place.

By way of the two his testimony and the proof submitted all around it, Musk arrived throughout as impetuous, brash, combative and contemptuous of any individual who questioned his motives as a video game-changing entrepreneur who has influenced comparisons to Apple’s late co-founder, Steve Careers.

At other instances, Musk sounded like the savvy visionary that his supporters hail him to be — an intrepid rebel who by his possess estimates has raised extra than US$100 billion from investors. They have been richly rewarded from his leadership of pioneering corporations that contain PayPal in digital payments, Tesla in electric cars and SpaceX in rocket ships.

“It is rather effortless for me to get financial investment support because my keep track of file is particularly fantastic,” Musk wryly observed.

But his self esteem in his ability to get the dollars he needs to go after his plans is 1 cause he located himself in courtroom. The a few-week trial is set to resume on Tuesday (Jan 31) and head for jury deliberations by Friday.

Here is what to know so far:


Evidence and testimony have shown Musk experienced commenced to mull getting Tesla personal in 2017 so he would not have to trouble with the headaches and distractions that accompany operating a publicly traded enterprise.

After a Jul 31, 2018, meeting with a major consultant from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign prosperity fund, Musk sent a letter to Tesla’s board outlining why he required to just take the automaker non-public at a price of US$420 per share — about 20 per cent earlier mentioned its inventory cost at the time.

Musk was major plenty of that he had currently talked about the execs and disadvantages with Michael Dell, who experienced gone by way of the community-to-private changeover in 2013 when he led a US$25 billion buyout of the own laptop firm bearing his identify, in accordance to demo evidence.


The crux of the situation hinges on an Aug 7, 2018, tweet in which Musk declared “funding secured” to get Tesla non-public.

Musk abruptly posted the tweet minutes prior to boarding his personal jet immediately after staying alerted that the Monetary Occasions was about to publish a tale that Saudi Arabia’s General public Financial commitment Fund had spent about US$2 billion getting a 5 for every cent stake in Tesla to diversify its interests over and above oil, according to his testimony.

Amid prevalent confusion about regardless of whether Musk’s Twitter account experienced been hacked or he was joking, Musk followed up a couple of hrs later on with a further tweet suggesting a deal was imminent.

Musk defended the initial tweet as a nicely-intentioned move to be certain all Tesla investors realized the automaker may possibly be on its way to ending its then-8-year operate as a publicly held enterprise.

“I experienced no unwell motive,” Musk testified. “My intent was to do the proper thing for all shareholders.”

Guhan Subramanian, a Harvard College business and law professor employed as an skilled for shareholder attorneys, derided Musk’s strategy for saying a opportunity buyout as an “extreme outlier” fraught with likely conflicts.

“The chance is that Mr. Musk timed his announcement of his (administration buyout) proposal to serve his own pursuits rather then the passions of the enterprise,” Subramanian testified.