Investor's Corner

Tesla (TSLA) starts strong recovery amidst Musk’s SEC settlement, Model 3 delivery estimates

Tesla stock (NASDAQ:TSLA) is exhibiting a strong recovery on Monday, trading up 15.40% at $305.54 per share during the opening bell. With its meteoric rsie, Tesla has practically recovered the losses it incurred last week after the SEC announced that it was filing a lawsuit against Elon Musk over his “funding secured” Twitter announcement last August.

Tesla shares took a steep dive last Friday, plunging 13.90% amidst news of the SEC’s lawsuit against the outspoken CEO. Amidst reports that Musk reportedly rejected a settlement from the government agency, Friday’s trading ultimately ended at $264.77 per share. Despite Friday’s plunge, though, Musk seemed to be in light spirits on Friday, expressing his gratitude to the Tesla community and even posting a “Don’t Panic” message on Twitter.

As developments over the weekend would prove, Elon Musk’s “Don’t Panic” message seems to be well-founded. On Saturday, the SEC released an update announcing that Musk had accepted a settlement for his lawsuit. The settlement involved a hefty fine worth a total of $40 million, as well as Musk’s resignation as Chairman for Tesla’s Board of Directors, but it did allow him to keep his post as CEO. The appointment of two new Board members, as well as the creation of a committee tasked with “placing additional controls and procedures to oversee” Musk’s communications, were warmly received by the Tesla community as well.

Loup Ventures Managing Partner Gene Munster noted that the SEC settlement is the best outcome possible from Elon Musk’s “funding secured” fiasco. Munster pointed out that the terms of the settlement actually works in Tesla’s favor, as the appointment of a new, capable Chairman of the Board could help Tesla reach sustainability, as well as become the wake-up call that Musk needs with regards to his behavior online.

“It’s not often that an SEC lawsuit could be viewed as an opportunity, but this is one of those rare cases. There are two key potential outcomes from the lawsuit. First, Musk stepping down as chairman of the board is something we wrote about before. The open board chairperson role creates an opportunity for Tesla to potentially put someone in place that is capable of influencing Musk and helping Tesla reach sustainability. Second, the lawsuit could serve as a wakeup call for Musk to tone down some of his public-facing behavior, particularly on Twitter. If Musk can step away from the external stuff that doesn’t matter, he’ll make the game that much easier for himself, and that will be good for everyone, just like this settlement.”

Apart from Musk’s settlement with the SEC, Tesla also seemed to have ended the third quarter on a strong note. The actual delivery figures for the Model S, 3, and X are yet to be released, but based on the company’s end-of-quarter push, it appears that Tesla has delivered a record number of vehicles to reservation holders during the final weeks of Q3. An email from Musk to Tesla employees sent over the weekend even noted that the company is “very close” to profitability, and that a strong Sunday delivery push would allow Tesla to “achieve an epic victory.”

What was rather remarkable is that Tesla and its employees were not alone in the company’s end-of-Q3 delivery blitz. Just like the past week, delivery centers received a boost from electric car owners who volunteered their time to orient newcomers with the features and functions of their electric cars. Even as the company approached the end of the third quarter, reports from the Tesla community still pointed to a continued delivery push, thanks to dedicated employees and owners who are willing to pitch in when help was needed.

Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.

Tesla (TSLA) starts strong recovery amidst Musk’s SEC settlement, Model 3 delivery estimates
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