A fighter Elon Musk defended Tesla’s takeover of SolarCity and ripped in a lawyer for the shareholders who are demand on agreement, on the first day of a trial that could saddle with a huge compensation project if lost.
A group of Tesla shareholders, including some pension funds, said Musk has developed the Purchase of $ 2.6bn in 2016 to save another of its large companies that had lacked financing options.
SolarCity, which installs solar roof panels, was founded in 2006 by Musk and two of his cousins. Despite the fact that Musk’s voting interest in Tesla was only 22 percent, the shareholders in question say the strength of his persona allowed him to dominate his board and push directors into doing the business.
Taking the stand in a dark suit with a white shirt and a solid dark tie, Musk said SolarCity and Tesla they were a natural combination he had planned for years, to achieve what he called “sustainable energy saving.”
Since the deal was a stock-to-stock merger and owned similar amounts of the two companies, Musk said he “had no financial gain in one way or another.”
Musk also insisted that he had no role in negotiating the terms of the agreement, and that he did not think it would be possible to control Tesla, given the power of the big institutional shareholders. “Fidelity, T Rowe [Price] and Capital Group couldn’t care less than what I said, ”he said.
A significant majority of Tesla enthusiasts approve of SolarCity’s takeover, and Musk has made little secret about it. contempt for the sake of dissident investors. Other directors have settled the case for $ 60 million, but chose to fight it. The process was initially set to begin in March last year but has been delayed by the pandemic.
On Monday in Delaware courtroom, Musk personally attacked the lawyer who questioned him, prominent attorney Randall Barone of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, saying, “I think you’re a bad human being.”
Musk added that he had “great respect for the court but not for you.”
When asked, Musk said his disdain for the Baron stemmed from legal problems that consumed the lawyer’s former firm, Milberg Weiss, where several former partners pleaded guilty to pay. returns getting shareholders to adhere to class action lawsuits against companies. Musk said the Baron had been “mentored by criminals.”
If the court decides that Musk controlled Tesla and SolarCity’s agreement was not in the shareholders ’interest, compensation could be paid for the amount Tesla is considered to have paid in excess.
Baron had sought in his interrogation to force Musk to admit that he was the singular strength of the company, with little or no oversight by the council. Barone showed clips of various interviews Musk had given, including on the television show 60 Minutes and in news articles, and noted that Tesla board members were often also connected to SolarCity or SpaceX, another Musk start-up.
Musk rarely gave brief answers, seemingly irritating Baron, but offering insights into Tesla’s management. Musk said that from 2017 to 2019, when Tesla struggled to spread its Model 3 electric car, “it was three of the hardest years of my life.”
He also said he would rather be an engineer than a manager. “To be completely frank, I don’t want to be the boss of anything,” Musk said, but he had to be Tesla’s chief executive “or the company would die.”