Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) bull and Wedbush Securities Senior Equity Research Analyst Dan Ives has weighed in on the Delaware Court decision that rescinds Elon Musk’s 2018 compensation plan, which was approved by about 80% of TSLA shareholders at the time. A legal complaint against Musk’s pay package was filed in 2018 by Richard Tornetta, a thrash metal drummer and car enthusiast who held nine shares at the time.
Reactions to the Delaware Court’s decision have been significant among Tesla shareholders. CEO Elon Musk has responded to the decision on X by stating, “Never incorporate your company in the state of Delaware.” He also posted a poll on X asking the social media platform’s users if Tesla should change its state of incorporation to Texas. As of writing, 90% of the poll’s respondents have answered “Yes,” with over 281k votes counted.
Should Tesla change its state of incorporation to Texas, home of its physical headquarters?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 31, 2024
The Wedbush analyst, for his part, admitted that the Delaware Court’s decision had been a jaw-dropper. The analyst noted that the Tesla Board would likely fight back against the court’s decision and perhaps even use this opportunity to come up with a new, updated compensation plan for the CEO. By doing so, Tesla could ensure that Musk stays on board. Ives shared his sentiments in a segment at CNBC’s Last Call.
“The biggest asset in Tesla is Musk. Musk is Tesla, Tesla is Musk. Now, obviously, this is a jaw-dropper that came down in Delaware. I think the Board would ultimately go back to the drawing board and come out with a comp package that could supersede this and maybe get Musk to… 25% voting interest. It’s a pivotal time for Tesla, and the Board is not gonna take this sitting down. This is something they’re gonna fight, and I think it could actually be an ‘aha’ moment for Musk and the Board,” Ives said.
The Delaware decision against @elonmusk and @Tesla is a jaw dropper in our view and we would expect the Board to fight back and take this opportunity to give Musk a new and game changing comp package to secure his future at Tesla with AI front and center @CNBC @LastCallCNBC 👇🔥 https://t.co/H2Z5obACiQ— Dan Ives (@DivesTech) January 31, 2024
While the Delaware Court’s decision opened with a passage describing Musk as the world’s wealthiest person, it should be noted that the CEO was far from the world’s richest when his 2018 pay package at Tesla was proposed and approved. At the time, Tesla had a valuation of less than $60 billion, and the compensation plan, which called for Tesla to grow into a company with a market cap of $650 billion, seemed almost laughable.
Quite ironically, the Delaware Court’s decision pointed to the idea that its decision was made in the best interests of Tesla shareholders, many of whom have seen their holdings in the electric vehicle maker grow over 10x since Musk’s compensation plan was approved in 2018. Though as of writing, at least, the celebrations in social media are mostly from the company’s short-sellers, who are betting against the company.
The Delaware Court’s decision on Elon Musk’s 2018 compensation plan can be viewed below.
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