It hasn’t exactly been a smooth year for Tesla or its CEO Elon Musk, who sat down with The New York Times last week in one of the most painful interviews of his career. The Thursday’s feature, in which Musk told NYT that ‘the worst is yet to come’, sent the company’s shares plummeting by 9 per cent, marking the worst trading day for Tesla in the past two years.
Shares drop 9%
While being interviewed in his LA home by The New York Times, Tesla’s CEO got teary-eyed as he explained how his personal life has suffered in, what has arguably been, the most intense year for the electric carmaker. After the article featuring Musk’s struggles went live, the company stocks dropped 8.9 per cent on Friday, marking its worst performance since June, 2016.
After a promising second quarter where Tesla increased its Model 3 production capacity to 5,000 cars per week, the company is back in bear-market territory, with share values down by 21 per cent from its 52-week high. Although the company’s shares have lost 13 per cent so far this year, last two weeks was particularly bad ever since Musk’s explosive tweet on August 7 which brought Tesla’s trading to a sudden halt.
The share prices soared 11 per cent after the CEO announced his plans to take the carmaker private, but as the privatization plan began to fray, Tesla’s shares lost 16.1 per cent. Now SEC is intensifying investigative efforts into Musk’s actions and has even sent him subpoenas to get clarification from the CEO.
Worst Year of His Career
In the recent interview with New York Times, Musk said that this year has been the most painful of his career. According to the feature, he choked u multiple times while talking about his kids, family and personal health. In a powerful admission, the CEO admitted that he was fraying under the pressure and friends have become increasingly concerned about his wellbeing.
Between meeting self-imposed Model 3 production deadlines to flying out several times in a week for extensive meetings with the board of directors, Musk almost missed his brother’s wedding.
The 47-year-old ambitious entrepreneur also spent his birthday holed up in his office, as the company raced against time to meet the production targets. He often spent nights sleeping on the factory floor, not showering or going home three days in a row and neglecting all personal matters for the sake of his company’s future. His hectic work schedule is now taking a toll on his relationship with friends, family and most importantly, his children.
SEC Launches Investigation
According to the report, Musk and rest of the Board will meet SEC next week regarding the controversial tweet in which the CEO wrote that he had already secured the funding for his privatization plan. He even said that shareholders would be offered the choice to sell their shares for $420 or go private.
Musk told Times that he had been using Ambien to help him sleep at night. However, board members are concerned that the CEO’s dependence on Ambien and other recreational drugs is clouding his judgment – a potential cause behind his controversial tweets.
Currently, SEC is investigating into whether Musk’s words were an intentional attack on short-sellers who were betting against the company. The Wall Street Journal also stated that the agency was pressing to find out how much Tesla’s board members knew about the privatization deal at the time of Musk’s tweet.
After the shares tumbled 9 per cent on Friday, short-sellers betting against Tesla received a generous gift from Musk. A financial technology firm, S3 Partners, revealed on Friday that Tesla’s losses were short-sellers’ gains as these investors made $1 billion in profits after share prices dropped to $306. The drop helped them recover most of their losses of $1.3 billion after Musk’s tweet led to 11 per cent increase in Tesla share prices.
Musk admitted in the interview that most of his stress stemmed from short-sellers who were making money from his company’s shortcomings. He told NYT that these investors could possibly lead to Tesla’s destruction, and he expects the next few months to be extremely torturous in the stock market.