Elon Musk said today during a trial to find if he defrauded Tesla investors with his “funding secured” Tweets in 2018 that the price of $420 per share was not meant to be funny.
Musk has become somewhat well-known for his sense of humor, and Tesla fans all over have adopted his style of comedic relief. One of the more widespread jokes is Musk’s use of 420, which coincides with marijuana culture and is used loosely as a joke. The Tesla CEO even offered $54.20 per share for Twitter, a number that many fans immediately pointed out.
However, Musk is currently fending off questions from attorneys regarding his Tweets, which in 2018, gave the impression the company was ready to be taken private thanks to what was understood to be secured funding by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF). This deal ultimately crumbled, and Musk and Tesla were both ordered to pay the SEC $20 million in fines, along with other terms.
Musk said in court today he was sure the “PIF unequivocally wanted to take Tesla private,” according to Reuters. Musk came to that conclusion following a meeting with members of the PIF at the Tesla Fremont Factory.
The price of $420 per share was not a joke, Musk said, and was chosen because it was “a 20 percent premium over the stock,” Musk said. He insisted it was not a joke, and the price was set for financial reasons over anything else.
Musk has fended questions regarding the “funding secured” deal for some time as shareholders have opened cases against him and the automaker.
The CEO maintained in court today that he was unable to tell Tesla board members about the take-private deal because they represent the shareholders, and it would be considered collusion.
The trial will determine whether shareholders will be awarded millions of dollars in losses after the Tweet shot Tesla’s stock price upward. Shareholders have already been given several symbolic wins in the case, because U.S. Judge Edward Chen said last year that Musk’s Tweets were reckless.
“It seems to me it’s not factually very complicated,” Chen said last year. In fact, “funding had not been secured.”