The week of Elon continues apace with an unequivocal victory for the Tesla founder.
A Delaware judge ruled Elon Musk did not flout his fiduciary responsibility to Tesla in order to line his own coffers when, in 2016, he prompted the company to acquire the rooftop solar panel maker SolarCity for $2.6 billion. Musk was chairman and the largest shareholder of SolarCity — which was struggling at the time — and Tesla’s shareholders accused him of coercing the company’s board into the purchase.
They argued that the purchase was to the benefit of Musk as an individual rather than Tesla the company, and sought up to $13 billion in damages. Complicating things even further: SolarCity used to be run by two of Musk’s cousins. What a mess!
But Judge Joseph R. Slights III wrote in his opinion that his “verdict is for the defense on all claims,” removing a years-long thorn from Musk’s side in the process. The decision found that Tesla paid a fair price, and while Musk was a bit more involved than would have been ideal, that was outweighed by the fact that the acquisition was a boon for Tesla.
However, the ruling can be appealed, and a lawyer for the plaintiffs said that he is reviewing potential next steps.
This comes in the midst of a week overwhelmingly full of Musk news, from his pending $44 billion purchase of Twitter to a separate securities filing that said he cannot post tweets about his Twitter acquisition if they “disparage the company or any of its representatives." The decision is also just the latest in a string of legal victories for Musk that have challenged both him as an individual and Tesla as an entity. What next week will hold for the world's richest man is anyone's guess.