Elon Musk testifies his tweets didn’t boost Tesla stock price
In his testimony, Mr Musk said he believed Twitter was “the best way to communicate with people”, including “investors big and small”. He also said he used Twitter to share memes, a comment that made some people watching the trial laugh.
Mr. Musk also acknowledged that his associates and friends, including a Tesla executive at the time, Antonio Gracias, suggested in July 2018 that he take a break from Twitter. That summer was full of “extreme pain,” Mr. Musk said, as Tesla struggled to ramp up production of its most affordable car, the Model 3. Before Mr. Musk talked about taking Tesla private on Twitter, he made the baseless claim that a British diver involved in a cave rescue in Thailand was a “pedo”.
When asked if he had heeded their advice, Mr Musk replied: “Guess I kept tweeting.”
His posts were closely followed and analyzed by investors and others interested in the company and electric cars.
On the witness stand, Glen Littleton, one of the investors and plaintiff in the case, said Wednesday that Mr. Musk’s first statement on Twitter about taking the company private seemed definitive. As a result, Mr Littleton said he started trading options.
“It was going to pretty much wipe me out,” said Mr Littleton, 71, referring to the privatization of Tesla. “I wanted to make a living. It posed a threat to my livelihood.
Timothy Fries, another investor and plaintiff in the case, testified Friday that Mr. Musk’s first statement on Twitter appeared to present a good opportunity to invest in Tesla. He bought shares in the company the next day.
“I wasn’t ready to buy stocks until I saw the tweet,” Mr. Fries said. He believed the deal was still being negotiated, but that Mr Musk’s message meant “there was a committed party and those funds had been verified”.
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