Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Shareholders are Taking Aim at Elon Musk

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Shareholders are Taking Aim at Elon Musk


  • Shareholder lawsuit filed in Delaware seeking class action status

The lawsuit accused the board of corporate waste and Musk, the company’s CEO/COB, of unjust enrichment.

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) said in a statement that the lawsuit “seeks to take the power from our shareholders and instead give it to plaintiffs lawyers. We will respond accordingly.”

Elon Musk received the support of the company’s shareholders in March for a package that Tesla estimated to be worth $2.6-B.

A Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) analyst estimated the package could be worth up to $70-B if the company continues to grow quickly. While the award of the pay package cooled speculation that Mr. Musk might be planning to ankle his EV company, it was also criticized for its unprecedented size.

Proxy advisory services ISS and Glass Lewis both had recommended shareholders reject the package.

“The new E. Musk compensation plan is so large it dwarfs the pay package of every other public company CEO,” said the complaint by Richard Tornetta that was unsealed Thursday in Delaware’s Court of Chancery.

Tesla’s statement noted that Mr.  Musk gets nothing unless the company’s market value 2X’s and continues to increase until it becomes one of the world’s most valuable companies.

Much of the complaint describing the how the pay package is unfair was redacted.

The complaint said Mr. Tornetta obtained corporate records from Tesla as permitted under Delaware corporate law. Companies sometimes provide that information only if a shareholder signs an NDA (non-disclosure agreement).

The lawsuit was unsealed days after shareholders rejected a shareholder proposal to strip Mr. Musk of the chairman role.

That had represented the strongest challenge yet to Mr. Musk’s grip on the fledgling California EV maker, which also faces production setbacks and expectations by many analysts that it will need to raise huge amounts of new cash to continue in business.

The case was assigned to Vice Chancellor Joseph Slights.

Notably, in March, VC Slights ruled against Tesla’s request for an early dismissal of a shareholder class action challenging the company’s acquisition of SolarCity Corp, a renewable energy company.

The lawsuit alleged that Mr. Musk used his power over Tesla’s board to buy SolarCity at a price that unfairly benefited Musk, a large shareholder in SolarCity.

The SolarCity deal closed in November 2016.

That case is proceeding to trial.

Symbol Last Trade Date Change Open High Low Volume
NASDAQ:TSLA 317.66 8 June 2018 1.57 319 324.48 317.15 8,205,200
HeffX-LTN Analysis for TSLA: Overall Short Intermediate Long
Neutral (0.21) Neutral (0.17) Bullish (0.42) Neutral (0.06)

Stay tuned…

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