Some shareholders say Mr Musk’s casual posts on Twitter – he once made comparisons between Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Hitler – have already hurt Tesla.
“The man has said so many controversial things,” said Kristin Hull, founder and CEO of Nia Impact Capital, an Oakland, California-based fund that invests in companies with positive social impact. “Are they distractions? Are they confusing? Has he meddled with the stock value with his tweets? Absolute.”
How Elon Musk Bought Twitter
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A blockbuster deal. Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, put an end to what seemed an unlikely attempt by the famed mercurial billionaire to buy Twitter for about $44 billion. Here’s how the deal unfolded:
The first offer. Mr. Musk made an unsolicited offer of more than $40 billion for the influential social network, saying he wanted to turn Twitter into a private company and that he wanted people to speak more freely about the service.
With Mr Musk becoming the owner of Twitter, “it’s only going to get bigger,” Ms Hull said. Nia recently sold most of his shares in Tesla, she said, because the fund was unhappy with the company’s response to accusations of racism at its Fremont, California plant.
Mr. Musk’s ownership of Twitter could alienate some potential Tesla buyers. Among people considering buying an electric car, Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly two to one, according to a research firm Morning Consult. But Democrats are also the group most likely to be put off if, in the name of free speech, Mr. Musk opens Twitter to extremist views or misinformation.
The Twitter acquisition could intensify oversight of Mr. Musk by stock market regulators. He has been sued by a Twitter shareholder who accuses him of missing the legal deadline to report that he had amassed a 5 percent stake in the platform.
The lawsuit, filed by Block & Leviton, a Boston law firm, alleges that Mr. Musk saved himself tens of millions of dollars by waiting six days after the deadline to declare his bet. He was able to continue to buy Twitter stock more cheaply than would have been possible if his interest was public knowledge, the lawsuit alleges.
Mr. Musk has a long history of enmity with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Last month, he failed to convince a New York judge to release him from a 2018 agreement with the SEC that would require him to have a corporate lawyer screen his social media posts if the statements could push Tesla’s stock price higher.