Elon Musk, a co-founder of Tesla, has been exonerated of all charges related to a tweet in which he claimed to have “financing secured” to return the electric vehicle manufacturer to private ownership.
Investors said he misled them with his articles in August 2018 and that as a result, they had lost billions of dollars.
The planned $72 billion (£60 billion) takeover never happened.
Musk might have had to pay billions of dollars in damages if proven at fault.
On Friday afternoon, the nine jurors took less than two hours to decide on the class-action complaint.
Mr. Musk, who had said he couldn’t obtain a fair trial in San Francisco and wanted the trial transferred to Texas, where Tesla is based, applauded the verdict.
He commented on Twitter, the social media site he paid $44 billion for in October: “Thank goodness, the people’s wisdom has won!
“I am grateful for the jury’s unanimous decision to declare the defendants innocent in the Tesla 420 take-private case.”
Mr. Musk’s tweet from August 7, 2018, which is central to the complaint, reads: “At $420, I’m thinking about taking Tesla private. funding arranged.”
When Mr. Musk tweeted later in the day that “investor support is confirmed,” the plaintiffs claimed he had lied.
Following the tweets, the stock price rose, but it soon started to decline once it became evident that the deal would not go through.
When many people made decisions about purchasing and selling their shares based on the tweet, investor losses were estimated as high as $12 billion, according to an economist hired by the shareholders.
In response to Mr. Musk’s tweets, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued him, alleging that he had misled investors. In exchange for $20 million, Mr. Musk consented to resign as chairman of the Tesla board.
Mr. Musk, who also oversees SpaceX and Twitter, had maintained during the three-week trial that he believed he had a verbal commitment for the sale from Saudi Arabia’s national wealth fund.
The second-richest man in the world testified for nearly nine hours, saying: “Just because I tweet something does not mean people believe it or will act accordingly.”
Investors objected that the phrase “financing secured” implied more than a verbal agreement.
Simply a “poor tweet”?
Even though Tesla’s stock price soared following the tweet, Mr. Musk questioned if his tweets had any impact on Tesla’s stock price.
He said that the impact his tweets had on the stock price can be unpredictable: “At one time I tweeted that I thought that, in my perspective, the stock price was too high… and it moved higher, which is counterintuitive.”
According to Mr. Musk, he ultimately decided against taking Tesla private after learning from his conversations with smaller investors that they preferred the company to stay publicly traded.
He was present for closing arguments earlier on Friday when the opposing legal teams painted conflicting portrayals of him, but he was not present when the verdict was announced.
An attorney for the Tesla stockholders, Nicholas Porritt, stated: “Our society is governed by laws. To prevent chaos, we need regulations. Elon Musk should be subject to the same rules as everyone else.”
Alex Spiro, Mr. Musk’s lawyer, stated: “Just because it’s a terrible tweet doesn’t mean it’s a scam.”
“We are dissatisfied with the judgment and are evaluating the next options,” Mr. Porritt said following the decision.
While largely remaining composed during his hearing, Mr. Musk occasionally showed signs of irritation with the line of questioning.
There were also lighthearted moments. Elon Musk quickly changed his name on Twitter to the same handle when a lawyer for shareholders inadvertently referred to him as “Mr. Tweet.”
In addition, several Tesla directors gave testimony, including James Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s son. They said that Mr. Musk could have reviewed buyout messages without the Tesla board’s approval.
The tweet about taking Tesla private, according to securities fraud attorney Reed Kathrein, was “as concrete a statement of taking a company private as there can be,” and the verdict of not guilty was “a travesty to investors and the securities laws,” he added.
In 2022, Elon Musk’s Tesla lost $140 million on Bitcoin
According to papers, Tesla lost $140 million (£113.5 million) on its Bitcoin bets in 2022.
The electric vehicle manufacturer informed the US authorities that while it had lost $204 million overall on Bitcoin, it had made up that amount through trading.
Early in 2021, Tesla invested $1.5 billion in Bitcoin after CEO Elon Musk predicted that it would be used for payment.
A few weeks later, it made a U-turn, and Tesla has now sold the majority of its Bitcoin holdings.
Currently, it has roughly $184 million in Bitcoin.
Mr. Musk has been one of the most prominent proponents of cryptocurrencies, and his comments on social media frequently spark large trading activity.
Due to Tesla’s purchase of Bitcoin in February 2021, the value of the digital currency increased by more than 25% to $48,000, which was a then-record high.
When Elon Musk announced that Tesla would permit people to purchase cars with Bitcoin in March 2021, it once again increased. This made it possible for US citizens to secure orders with the equivalent of a $100 Bitcoin deposit.
But when the company changed its mind about this plan two months later, citing climate change worries, the cryptocurrency then dropped by more than 10%.
The UK Treasury believes that the yearly energy usage of Bitcoin worldwide is equivalent to 39% of that of the UK; some estimates place the figure considerably higher.
When Tesla chose to sell off the majority of its interests, its price plummeted by more than 50% from a peak of about $70,000 in November 2022.
Without a middleman like a bank, you can buy, trade, and exchange bitcoin directly. It is a decentralized digital money. Satoshi Nakamoto, the person who invented Bitcoin, first articulated the necessity for “an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of faith.”
Bitcoin transactions are difficult to reverse and challenging to forge since every single transaction ever performed is recorded on a public ledger that is available to everyone. That was planned: Bitcoins’ decentralized nature is exemplified by the fact that they are neither backed by a government nor an issuing body and that their worth is only guaranteed by the system’s inherent evidence.
According to Anton Mozgovoy, co-founder and CEO of digital financial services firm Holyheld, “The reason why it’s worth money is simply that we, as individuals, decided it had value—same as gold.”
Bitcoin’s value has significantly increased since its initial public release in 2009. Despite once selling for less than $150 per coin, as of June 8, 1 BTC is equivalent to roughly $30,200. Many anticipate that because there are only 21 million coins available, its price will only increase over time. This is especially true as more significant institutional investors start to use it as a form of digital gold to protect against inflation and market volatility. There are currently more than 19 million coins in use.