Elon Musk goes on trial today to defend the $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity after Shareholders filed a lawsuit against him
Tesla CEO Elon Musk gets a day in court today to defend his role in Tesla’s $2.6 billion acquisition of SolarCity in 2016.
Shareholders filed a lawsuit against Musk alleging that the deal amounted to a SolarCity bailout that enriched Musk and his family more than it did Tesla, among other things. Musk may end up paying upwards of $2 billion from his personal wealth if the shareholders win their case.
The trial is currently ongoing. During the trial, Musk told his attorney on the stand that “Since it was a stock-for-stock transaction and I owned almost exactly the same percentage of both there was no financial gain.” Musk also added that he didn’t control the appointment of board members, their removal, or their compensation.
SolarCity shareholders are not the only group complaining about the billion-dollar deal. Other investors also criticized the deal, calling it “a misguided effort to rescue two companies that depend on investors and the government for operating cash,” according to another report from the Los Angeles Times.
The lawsuit also alleges that Musk and Tesla’s board of directors “overpaid for SolarCity, ignored their own conflicts of interest and failed to disclose ‘troubling facts’ essential to a rational analysis of the proposed deal.” In addition, shareholders allege that it unfairly enriched the Musk family, who were among the largest shareholders, and that Musk and others failed to disclose all pertinent details and breached their fiduciary responsibilities. Meanwhile, Musk insisted he was “fully recused” from negotiations over the deal.
Musk is not new to legal problems. Back in 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued him for fraud. Tesla and Musk later settled with SEC paying $20 million each. It all started after Musk tweeted about taking Tesla private for $420 a share, a move that sent Tesla’s stock price soaring.
After the settlement, Musk temporarily gave up his chairman role at Tesla as one of the terms of the settlement.