Fears about Musk's future sink Tesla shares

A trading frenzy ensued that day as Tesla's stock price spiked, closing up 10.98 per cent from the day before and adding more than US$4 billion to the company's value.

Musk's apprehension reportedly came from the fact that the deal would have barred him as chairman for a period of two years. The lawsuit also accuses Musk of picking a $420 stock price because "he had recently learned about the number's significance in marijuana culture and thought his girlfriend 'would find it amusing, which admittedly is not a great reason to pick a price'".

Musk had a way to avoid going to court, and he didn't take it.

As a result, Musk is now facing an SEC lawsuit that accuses him of fraud because his tweets were "false and misleading statements".

Musk's out-of-the-blue move apparently blindsided Tesla's chief financial officer, Deepak Ahuja, forcing him to scramble to minimize the havoc that he immediately recognized had been wrought by his CEO.

Several anxious that the SEC action was also just the beginning of a legal battle with authorities, short sellers and other investors over Musk's actions that could cost Tesla heavily.

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Musk published his infamous tweet about taking Tesla private on August 7, briefly sending the company's stock price to a 52-week high before falling after it became clear the board had no information about his plans or funding sources and that the "funding secured" statement was unfounded. "If the SEC is granted its request to remove Musk, there's a question as to whether they're doing more to harm continuing shareholders or protecting them, at least in the eyes of the market", he wrote in a note to investors.

"Musk acknowledged that no specific deal terms had been established at the meeting and there was no discussion of what would or would not be considered reasonable". "I have always taken action in the best interests of truth, transparency, and investors".

Tesla shares were down down less than 1% this year through Thursday. According to Gene Munster, a managing partner of venture capital firm Loup Ventures, there's about a 25 percent chance Musk remains Tesla's CEO.

The board too issued a statement in support of Musk, saying it was "fully confident in Elon, his integrity and his leadership of the company".

Musk reportedly said that by settling he would be failing to be true to himself.

"I think it was a big mistake to turn down the settlement offer", CFRA analyst Garrett Nelson said.

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