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Elon Musk Apologises to UK Diver for Calling Him a ‘Pedo’

He also said that he would like to see "peace, quiet and execution" at the electric car company

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Elon Musk
Musk got the ball rolling Tuesday after the stock market had already been open more than three hours with a tweet announcing he might buy all of Tesla's stock at $420 per share with no further details. (Wikimedia Commons)
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Bowing to pressure from investors amid falling Tesla stock, Elon Musk on Wednesday apologised to famed British cave explorer Vern Unsworth for calling him a “pedo” after he saved 12 boys and their coach who were trapped in a cave in Thailand.

Unsworth had dismissed the “mini-submarine” idea from Musk to save the boys, called it a “PR stunt” to which, Musk reacted in a bizarre way.

“Nonetheless, his actions against me do not justify my actions against him, and for that I apologise to Mr Unsworth and to the companies I represent as leader. The fault is mine and mine alone,” Musk tweeted.

“My words were spoken in anger after Mr Unsworth said several untruths and suggested I engage in a sexual act with the mini-sub, which had been built as an act of kindness and according to specifications from the dive team leader,” the Tesla CEO further tweeted to a user.

Earlier, Musk’s Twitter posts sparked backlash from shareholders and Silicon Valley analysts, who called his behaviour “immature and an impediment to the car company’s success”, The Guardian reported.

The company saw “the end of carbon as essential” but, was “frustrated that the real steps towards this are being overshadowed and undermined by this saga,” James Anderson, a partner at Baillie Gifford, Tesla’s fourth-largest shareholder, was quoted as saying.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk apologised to famed British cave explorer Vern Unsworth for calling him a “pedo”

Anderson said he agreed with some of Musk’s past remarks calling out critical analysts, “but this is different. We are in contact with the company and we are hopeful that it is being taken with due seriousness.”

He also said that he would like to see “peace, quiet and execution” at the electric car company.

If Musk’s behaviour did not change, “it could have a dramatic negative impact on the company. It has to start with an apology,” Gene Munster, Head of research at Loup Ventures, a venture capital firm, was quoted as saying.

Twelve boys and their football coach were rescued from the Tham Luang cave complex last week by an international team after a week-long intense drama.

Musk has faced increasing scrutiny in the past few months over his bizarre tirades on Twitter and his aggressive attacks on journalists, regulators and other critics.

Also read- Why Elon Musk has Suddenly Gone Ballistic on Twitter

The scandals come amid continuing complaints about workplace safety and a struggle to meet production goals at Tesla. (IANS)

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Slow Disclosure of Tesla Raising Governance, Social Media Concerns

In his blog, Musk said he made the announcement on Twitter to ensure all investors were aware of his plan before speaking with the company's largest shareholders

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Tesla CEO
FILE - Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., talks during a news conference at the company's headquarters in Fremont, California, Sept. 29, 2015. (VOA)

Tesla’s handling of Chief Executive Elon Musk’s proposal to take the carmaker private and its failure to promptly file a formal disclosure has raised governance concerns and sparked questions about how companies use social media.

Musk stunned investors last Tuesday by announcing on Twitter that he was considering taking Tesla private in a potential $72 billion transaction and that “funding” had been “secured.”

Tesla’s shares closed up 11 percent before retrenching after the Wall Street Journalreported that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had asked Tesla why Musk announced his plans on Twitter and whether his statement was truthful.

Musk provided no details of his funding until Monday, when he said in a blog on Tesla’s website that he was in discussions with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and other potential backers but that financing was not yet nailed down.

Musk said his tweet and blogs were issued in his personal capacity as a private bidder for Tesla’s stock. A Tesla spokesman pointed Reuters to Musk’s blog in response to a request for comment.

Putting aside whether Musk misled anyone, the unorthodox manner in which he announced the news and Tesla’s failure to promptly clarify the situation with a regulatory filing is a corporate governance lapse that raises questions about how companies use social media to release market-moving news, securities lawyers said.

Tesla CEO
Tesla CEO and founder of the Boring Company Elon Musk speaks at a news conference in Chicago, June 14, 2018. (VOA)

“Management buyouts or other take-private transactions already suffer from serious information asymmetry between management and public shareholders,” said Gabriel Rauterberg, a University of Michigan law professor.

SEC rules typically require companies to file an 8-K form within four business days of a significant corporate event.

While several securities lawyers said Musk’s tweets alone did not trigger this obligation, such a filing would be prudent given the unusual circumstances, David Axelrod, a partner at law firm Ballard Spahr LLP, said.

“An 8-K would provide some more details, it would say what stage negotiations are in, and provide more information than 53 characters in a tweet,” he added.

Full and fair disclosure

SEC guidelines published in 2013 allow companies and their executives to use social media to distribute material information, provided investors have been alerted that this is a possibility. Tesla did this in a 2013 filing.

But such disclosures have to be full and fair, meaning the information is complete and accessible by all investors at the same time, a bar that Musk’s tweets may not have met.

“Twitter is not designed to provide full and fair disclosure. That doesn’t mean that you couldn’t, but in a series of 20 to 30 characters I’m not sure you’re getting full disclosure,” said Zachary Fallon, a former SEC attorney and principal at law firm Blakemore Fallon.

 

Elon Musk
Elon Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX. (VOA)

The SEC declined to comment Monday.

Securities lawyers said there was also a question mark over whether Musk selectively disclosed information on the possible terms of the deal when he subsequently replied to followers, two of whom claim in their handles to be investors.

Those tweets were not immediately visible to all followers of Musk’s main feed until he retweeted them.

History of Twitter use

The 47-year-old billionaire’s history of joking about Tesla and using twitter to bait his critics also appears to have undermined trust in Musk’s feed as a reliable source of company information, with many investors initially believing Tuesday’s tweet was a prank.

You May Also Like to Read About- The Japanese Bombings And American Falsification

In his blog, Musk said he made the announcement on Twitter to ensure all investors were aware of his plan before speaking with the company’s largest shareholders.

But his claim to have done so as a private person presents a potential conflict of interest, said Nimish Patel, a lawyer with Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp.

“If you’re speaking on behalf of the company using resources like Twitter and the company website, while at the same time saying you’re a private individual expressing your own personal views, you are being inconsistent and creating confusion for investors. And when there’s confusion, the SEC is likely going to get involved,” he added. (VOA)