Tesla’s Elon Musk and SEC reach agreement on Twitter use: no punishment, but tighter rules

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the Security and Exchange Commission have reached an agreement about the CEO’s Twitter use. In a document, Elon Musk’s legal team and the SEC issued a motion requesting the court to amend the terms of the CEO’s settlement, particularly the sections pertaining to information that are considered material, and thus, requiring approval.

The motion comes after Elon Musk’s legal team and the SEC asked the court for an extension to settle the contempt charges filed by the agency against the CEO. The agency took issue with Musk’s tweet back in February 19, when he mentioned on Twitter that Tesla will produce around 500,000 cars this year, echoing an estimate he shared during the Q4 2018 earnings call. The SEC asked the court to hold Musk in contempt for violating his settlement with the agency, which required pre-approval of tweets that contain material information.

The two sides faced off on April 4, with the SEC reiterating its accusations before presiding Judge Alison Nathan. After hearing the arguments from the agency and Musk’s legal team, Judge Nathan ordered the two parties to arrange a meeting and send a letter to the court within two weeks. The judge also told the SEC and Musk’s team to come up with an agreement. “My call to action is for everyone to take a deep breath, put your reasonableness pants on and work this out,” she said.

Based on the motion filed by the parties today, it appears that Elon Musk will not be paying a fine for his February 19 tweet, though the document outlined a series of topics that are deemed material. Following is the section of the joint filing outlining topics that require review and pre-approval.

  • potential or proposed mergers, acquisitions, dispositions, tender offers, or joint ventures;
  • production numbers or sales or delivery numbers (whether actual, forecasted, or projected) that have not been previously published via pre-approved written communications issued by the Company (“Official Company Guidance”) or deviate from previously published Official Company Guidance;
  • new or proposed business lines that are unrelated to then-existing business lines (presently includes vehicles, transportation, and sustainable energy products);
  • projection, forecast, or estimate numbers regarding the Company’s business that have not been previously published in Official Company Guidance or deviate from previously published Official Company Guidance;
  • events regarding the Company’s securities (including Musk’s acquisition or disposition of the Company’s securities), credit facilities, or financing or lending arrangements;
  • nonpublic legal or regulatory findings or decisions;
  • any event requiring the filing of a Form 8-K by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including:
  • a change in control; or
  • a change in the Company’s directors; any principal executive officer, president, principal financial officer, principal accounting officer, principal operating officer, or any person performing similar functions, or any named executive officer; or
  • such other topics as the Company or the majority of the independent members of its Board of Directors may request, if it or they believe pre-approval of communications regarding such additional topicswould protect the interests of the Company’s shareholders; and Jugement decided… the proposed amendment to the Final Judgment is fair, reasonable, and in the interest of the parties and investors because the proposed revisions will provide additional clarity regarding the written communications for which the Defendant is required to obtain pre-approval pursuant to the Final Judgment

Below is the joint motion outlining the agreement between Elon Musk’s legal team and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tesla’s Elon Musk and SEC reach agreement on Twitter use: no punishment, but tighter rules

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Tesla drops 4% and hits 2-year lows, but TSLA bulls remain undeterred

Tesla stock (NASDAQ:TSLA) dropped 4% on Friday as the electric car maker continued to feel the aftermath of its Q1 financial report. As Tesla hit 2-year lows, Wall Street continued to be polarized about the company, with bears piling on the skepticism and TSLA bulls remaining firm in their support for the electric car maker.

Seemingly smelling blood in the water, Tesla bears continued their attacks on the company. Gabe Hoffman, founder of Accipiter Capital Management and a Tesla short, called Elon Musk a “lying magician” during a segment of Yahoo Finance‘s The Ticker. Garrett Nelson, CFRA senior research analyst, noted that the company’s guidance looks “unrealistic” and a “problem going forward.” Longtime TSLA bull Dan Ives from Wedbush also wrote a scathing note following Tesla’s Q1 earnings call, describing the first quarter as a “top debacle.”

While the current state of Tesla stock does not inspire much confidence, some of the company’s bulls have remained supportive of the electric car maker. Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois noted that while there is “ongoing stress,” for Tesla, he saw “enough positive surprises from auto gross margin resilience, cash earnings, and gross liquidity to argue the shares have sufficiently re-priced.” Houchois admitted that his current call might be “hard to live with at times,” but he maintained that he sees value in Tesla’s electric vehicle/connectivity technology and implementation.

Arguably taking an unpopular opinion, the Jefferies analyst stated that he remained confident that “there is a path to sustained profitability” for the electric car maker. Houchois ultimately kept his “Buy” rating on TSLA stock, as well as a very optimistic $400 price target.

ARK Invest CIO Cathie Wood, a long-term TSLA bull, discussed Tesla’s first quarter results in a segment of CNN‘s First Move. According to Wood, the electric car maker’s Q1 numbers might be provocative, but they are not really a surprise. “The numbers looked provocative. I will say that from the get-go. But we knew this was going to be a tough quarter. We knew they were retooling. We knew that they were going to pay back the convertible notes. So there’s going to be a cash drain. I don’t think there were too many surprises,” she said.

In a rather interesting twist, Craig Irwin of Roth Capital Partners, has turned less bearish on Tesla following the Q1 earnings call. Irwin is a Tesla critic, recently claiming that the electric car maker will be in trouble because of competition from legacy auto. In a segment on CNBC‘s Squawk Box, Irwin explained why he currently rates Tesla as a hold. “(The Q1 results were) very much as telegraphed. I mean, we’ve known the units for a while. Nothing gets me more constructive here, but frankly, I’m not more bearish. I just think that the probability of an equity offering or some capital access is much, much higher with the cash position down as much as it was,” he said.

With Friday’s 4% drop, TSLA shares have now fallen 29% in 2019. Tesla’s market cap has also declined from $63 billion in mid-December to $40.8 billion. Wall Street analysts currently expect the electric car maker’s revenue to expand 19% in 2019, far less than the 83% growth it exhibited in 2018 and the 68% growth in 2017, according to Refinitiv.

As of writing, Tesla stock is trading 4.77% at $235.81.

Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.

Tesla drops 4% and hits 2-year lows, but TSLA bulls remain undeterred

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FAST CAR MAGAZINE ISSUE 408 PREVIEW

The new issue of Fast Car magazine is out now to buy in all good newsagents and supermarkets. It’s also available from the Fast Car Shop or you can download Fast Car magazine direct to your device.

Here’s a cheeky look at what’s inside…

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