A group of Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) shareholders may be poised to recover an average of $12,000 apiece over losses that were incurred over CEO Elon Musk’s “funding secured” fiasco in 2018.
At the time, Musk announced on X, then known as Twitter, that he had secured funding to take Tesla private. The CEO’s tweet triggered a lot of volatility in TSLA stock, and it also resulted in Musk getting sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
As part of the settlement with the SEC, Musk and Tesla agreed to pay a $20 million fine each. Musk also relinquished his role as chairman of Tesla’s Board of Directors. Musk would later state during a TED Conference last year that he was “forced to concede to the SEC unlawfully.”
“I was forced to admit that I lied to save Tesla’s life, and that’s the only reason,” Musk said.
As noted in a Bloomberg News report, the SEC is looking to pay TSLA investors the $40 million plus interest that Musk and Tesla agreed to as civil penalties. The SEC had reportedly asked a judge for the final approval of the plan in a Wednesday filing.
A total of 3,350 claims would be paid out of the fund that was set up from Musk’s settlement if the plan is approved. This amounts to an average of just under $12,400 per investor. The judge noted on Thursday that he would sign off on the plan on September 1, provided that Elon Musk or Tesla do not issue any objections.
Considering Musk’s recent comments about the case, however, it would not be surprising if the CEO or Tesla objects to the SEC’s plan.
The SEC has estimated that Tesla shareholders lost about $80 million from the volatility of TSLA stock following Musk’s 2018 tweet. Earlier this year, an expert witness for a class of Tesla investors estimated that the losses are actually about $12 billion, an amount that appears to have been based on the losses of all TSLA shareholders over ten days after Musk’s August 7, 2018 tweet.
The SEC’s $80 million estimate, on the other hand, covered just over 27 hours after Musk’s tweet. It also excluded options and derivative trades, and considered only common TSLA stock. Not every eligible investor filed a claim as well, Bloomberg noted.
The TSLA investors in the class action case ultimately lost at trial back in February, after a jury cleared Musk of the claim that the CEO defrauded investors with his 2018 tweet. The investors, however, are appealing.
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