Less than two months ago an unanticipated Tweet emerged from Elon Musk announcing that he was “considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” It was an auspicious claim from the company’s chairman and CEO. Now, that Tweet has cost him $40 million.
On Sept. 27, 2018, The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accused Musk of making “false and misleading” statements. A settlement soon followed, requiring Musk to leave his role as Tesla’s chairman. Musk and the company agreed to pay a $20 million fine each.
But relatively speaking, Musk got off with the equivalent of a parking ticket.
Following the Tweet, Tesla’s stock closed at $379.57, the 2018 high. The $20 million fine was less than 0.1% of Musk’s net worth. After the deal was announced shares of Tesla returned to pre-“420” levels.
With consequences like these, it’s no surprise Musk’s first post-fine Tweet showed no remorse.