In a stunning legal victory, Elon Musk has been found not liable for costing investors millions of dollars when he issued a series of tweets saying he had “secured” funding to take the electric car maker Tesla private. After a nine-person jury in Northern California heard both sides of the case, Musk emerged victorious.
The case revolved around a tweet issued by Musk in August 2018, in which he declared that he had secured funding to take Tesla private. During the trial, Musk testified that he believed he had a handshake agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund to convert Tesla, which is a publicly traded company, into a private one. He maintained that it was the Saudis who subsequently reneged on the deal.
However, the shareholder attorney, Nicholas Porritt, argued that no formal agreement was ever in place and that Musk’s tweet had served his own interests rather than those of investors, costing them millions and potentially billions of dollars as Tesla’s share price fluctuated during the ordeal. Despite this, the jury ultimately found that Musk had acted in good faith and was not liable for any damages.
The ruling is a major victory for Musk, who has seen the value of his Tesla holdings decline some 44% over the past year. The decision to keep Tesla public has paid off, with Tesla’s shares now worth more than eight times what they were at the time of Musk’s buyout tweet. This ruling is a testament to Musk’s ingenuity and determination, and sets a precedent for future cases involving the power of social media.