Elon Musk told Tesla employees that the company was on the cusp of making money, hours after he and the carmaker reached a settlement with the USA that steps up oversight of the chief executive officer's communications of material information. Shares of Tesla had plunged Thursday following the announcement that the SEC had sued Musk.
Musk, whose tweets on August 7 on a plan to take Tesla private that was later abandoned, has tweeted only once since the settlement was announced - posting a music video by rap group Naughty by Nature.
After repeatedly falling short of its manufacturing targets, Tesla probably produced about 53,457 Model 3s in the third quarter, according to a Bloomberg Tracker that uses vehicle identification numbers and other inputs to estimate output in real time. On Saturday, the SEC released an update announcing that Musk had accepted a settlement for his lawsuit.
The SECsaid Musk's statements on Twitter were "false and misleading" and that he had never discussed the plans with company officials or potential funders.
The settlement also requires Tesla appointing two new independent directors, and Tesla setting up a "new committee of independent directors and put in place additional controls and procedures to oversee Musk's communications". Tesla itself has also been slapped with a $20 million fine by the SEC, making Musk's tweet one of the most expensive in history.
"The resolution is meant to prevent further market disruption and harm to Tesla's shareholders", Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC's Enforcement Division, said in the statement.
It was precisely his Twitter postings about his idea to remove Tesla from the stock market, which led him now to resign from the post of chairman of Tesla's board of directors.
Musk, 47, told employees in an email on Sunday that the company was "very close to achieving profitability and proving the naysayers wrong", but still needed to execute on the last day of the quarter. Under the settlements, which are contingent on court approvals, Musk will step down as Tesla chairman and will be replaced by an independent chairman.
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