Tesla’s chief govt, Elon Musk, mentioned on Twitter on Friday that the corporate’s inventory value, which had been surging in current weeks, was “too excessive” in his opinion. The inventory fell sharply after the put up, and closed 10.three p.c down.
Always volatile, the price of the company’s shares had been rising steadily since mid-March in part because investors believe Tesla is poised to lead a transition to electric cars. The shares are worth more than the combined value of General Motors, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler, which make millions of cars a year, compared with the hundreds of thousands that Tesla produces.
This week, Tesla announced that it had earned a small profit for the third straight quarter. The company, founded in 2003, has never been profitable over a full year.
Mr. Musk’s comment, delivered amid a stream of unusual posts, might strike some as odd considering he has long railed against short sellers who have targeted Tesla’s stock because they believe it is overvalued.
Recently, he has also fumed over government efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus. During the company’s conference call with analysts this week to discuss its first-quarter results, Mr. Musk, who has attracted devoted fans and critics, lashed out at stay-at-home orders that have closed Tesla’s Fremont, Calif., car factory, calling them “fascist.”
“They’re breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are wrong and are not why people came here or built this country,” he said on the call, adding an expletive.
Mr. Musk, who is also the chief executive of SpaceX, also said on Friday that he was “selling almost all physical possessions” and would no longer own a home, explaining that he didn’t need cash because he was “devoting” himself to Mars and Earth. He also posted lines from the national anthem; wrote, “Now give people back their FREEDOM”; quoted the poet Dylan Thomas; and said his baby with the singer and songwriter Claire Boucher, better known as Grimes, is due Monday. The messages were not unusual for Mr. Musk, who often writes messages on Twitter in emotional bursts.
In 2018, Mr. Musk reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in which he agreed to step down as Tesla’s chairman, and to have a lawyer approve any written statement he made about the company that might contain material information. Mr. Musk had said on Twitter that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private at $420 a share. It turned out that the plan was in a much more embryonic state than his tweet indicated.
In April 2019, Mr. Musk and the S.E.C. amended that agreement after the securities regulator sought to hold him in contempt of court for talking about Tesla’s production forecast on Twitter without having a lawyer sign off on the post. The new agreement included a list of things the chief executive was not to speak about without approval, including the electric-car company’s financial condition, earnings forecast, proposed acquisitions and production data.
Marc Leaf, a partner at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath in New York, who has previously worked at the S.E.C., said Mr. Musk’s Twitter post on Friday did not appear to be forbidden but could worry the company’s board.
“Mr. Musk’s tweet is a matter for Tesla’s board of directors, not enforcement personnel,” Mr. Leaf said. “At this point, he’s going to say what he’s going to say. He didn’t violate the law as far as I can tell, but if I were a director, I’d have some concerns about my C.E.O. and founder saying this.”
The company revealed in a regulatory filing this week that it had taken the weird step of dropping an insurance coverage coverage that protected its board members from lawsuits, a regular characteristic at publicly traded corporations, as a result of the charges have been too excessive. As an alternative, Mr. Musk agreed to personally present protection to the board for one 12 months.
The board, which incorporates Mr. Musk’s brother and a number of other longstanding enterprise associates and buddies of the chief govt, decided that the association wouldn’t threaten its independence for the reason that protection is ruled by a binding settlement with Tesla.
Tesla didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Peter Eavis and Neal E. Boudette contributed reporting.