Elon is in the news again. And of course, it's for more ridiculous shit. The Twitter overlord has told a California jury that his infamous "420 tweet" in 2018 about taking Tesla private at $420 a share wasn't a joke and had nothing to do with cannabis, according to the Verge.
Musk is dealing with the aftermath of that tweet nearly five years later because he's been sued by a group of Tesla investors who allege that his tweet wasn't only misleading, but it cost them tens of millions of dollars. For no reason other than manically tweeting about his business.
The billionaire tech tycoon told a jury on Monday, January 23, that he discussed taking Tesla private with entrepreneur Michael Dell, who took his own company private in 2013.
He also insisted that he “unequivocally wanted to take Tesla private,” according to Bloomberg.
Musk said he tweeted the share price based on what he said was a “firm commitment” from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) to take Tesla private. He thought the deal was in the bag, he implied. About 10 days later, however, Musk admitted that the Tesla buyout wasn’t going to happen.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
After an investigation, the SEC fined Musk $40 million, forcing the billionaire to step down as chair of Tesla’s board. The SEC cited Musk for misleading investors. In the SEC’s complaint, Musk was accused of rounding up the share price to $420 from $419 “because he had recently learned about the number’s significance in marijuana culture.”
A month later, Musk caused a media uproar when he sparked a blunt with Joe Rogan, further shocking Tesla investors, and officials across the board. His troubles didn’t end there. The Verge reports that Nicholas Porritt is an attorney for a class of Tesla investors suing Musk for millions of dollars that they say resulted from his failure to take Tesla private.
“You rounded up to 420 because you thought that would be a joke that your girlfriend will enjoy, isn’t that correct?” Porritt asked. “No,” Musk said, adding, “there is some karma around 420. I should question whether that is good or bad karma at this point.”
Musk said that 420 wasn’t a weed joke, but a roughly 20% premium on the $419 stock price at the time. “420 was not chosen because of a joke,” Musk said. “It was chosen because there was a 20 percent premium over the stock price.” Musk also claimed that it was a “coincidence.”
The jury will decide if he owes billions of dollars in damages to Tesla shareholders for the money lost as a result of his Tweets. Judge Edward Chen told the jury it should be aware that Musk’s 2018 tweets are false. Jurors will now need to decide whether Musk deceived Tesla shareholders because of his tweets.