Nikola Motor is under fire after an analyst firm called Hindenburg Research labeled the automaker as “an intricate fraud built on dozens of lies.”
Hindenberg said that had “gathered extensive evidence – including recorded phone calls, text messages, private emails, and behind-the-scenes photographs-detailing dozens of false statements by Nikola Founder Trevor Milton.”
Nikola has been developing its series of hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric semi-trucks and pickups in preparation for a production push within the next couple of years.
— Hindenburg Research (@HindenburgRes) September 10, 2020
Yesterday, GM obtained a sizeable $2 billion equity stake in Nikola and announced that it would be responsible for developing and supplying fuel cell and battery systems for the Trevor Milton-headed company.
However, Hindenburg’s report claims that a massive level of deception is taking place within Nikola’s campaign to gain momentum in the transportation sector.
“We have never seen this level of deception at a public company, especially of this size,” Hindenburg said.
Nikola Shares fell 9% because of the news, according to MarketWatch, and its $20 billion public valuation fell to $14.24 billion in a matter of hours.
The report claims that Milton “has managed to parlay these false statements made over the course of a decade into a ~$20 billion public company. He has inked partnerships with some of the top auto companies in the world, all desperate to catch up to Tesla and to harness the EV wave.”
One of the biggest claims from the Hindenburg report is the suggestion that Milton’s statements during a July 2020 podcast directly indicate that the Nikola Tre was rolling off of production lines at a company facility in Europe.
“We have five of them coming off the assembly line right now in Ulm Germany,” Milton stated during the podcast. However, Bosch, the manufacturing partner building the trucks, confirmed that there had been no Nikola products that had been completely manufactured.
In response to the report, Milton indicated in a Tweet that it would take him “a few hours to put together responses to their [Hindenburg’s] lies.”
It makes sense. Tens of millions of shares shorted the last day or two to slam our stock and hit job by hindenburg. I guess everything is fair game in war, even a hit job. I know who funded it now. Give me a few hours to put together responses to their lies. This is all you got?
— Trevor Milton (@nikolatrevor) September 10, 2020
Hindenburg holds a short position in shares of Nikola Motor, and wrote a disclosure at the bottom of the report indicating its current position on the company’s stock.
The report has yet to be confirmed, but Block & Leviton LLP, a national securities and litigation firm, is currently investigating the claims. The company stated, “If you purchased or acquired shares of Nikola and have questions about your legal rights or possess information relevant to this matter, please contact Block & Leviton attorneys at (617) 398-5600, via email at [email protected], or at https://www.blockleviton.com/cases/nkla.”
Disclosure: Joey Klender is not a $NKLA shareholder and has no intention to initiate any positions within 72 hours.