Elon Musk is in some sort of negotiation with the board of Tesla to regain greater voting control at the board level, and he's making this publicly known in a series of tweets, for some reason.
In response to some online chatter on Xitter about Musk seeking a new compensation package at Tesla, Musk himself tweeted an explanation on Monday, saying that he wants at least a 25% stake in Tesla going forward, in order to have a larger say in big decisions.
The bros on Xitter who like to chatter about things like Elon's compensation were wondering, rightly, why Musk's $100 billion stake in Tesla isn't big enough — does he need to be a trillionaire before he's happy?
And Musk decided to explain himself, maybe just to make it known that it's not the money he's after, it's the control.
"I am uncomfortable growing Tesla to be a leader in AI & robotics without having ~25% voting control," Musk's Monday tweet-reply said. "Enough to be influential, but not so much that I can’t be overturned. Unless that is the case, I would prefer to build products outside of Tesla."
Musk went on to elaborate saying, "You don’t seem to understand that Tesla is not one startup, but a dozen. Simply look at the delta between what Tesla does and GM."
And, he says, "As for stock ownership itself being enough motivation, Fidelity and other own similar stakes to me. Why don’t they show up for work?"
I should note that the Tesla board is great. The reason for no new “compensation plan” is that we are still waiting for a decision in my Delaware compensation case. The trial for that was held in 2022, but a verdict has yet to be made.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 15, 2024
I put “compensation plan” in quotes,…
Musk makes clear that the "Tesla board is great," and he further explains, "If I have 25%, it means I am influential, but can be overridden if twice as many shareholders vote against me vs for me. At 15% or lower, the for/against ratio to override me makes a takeover by dubious interests too easy."
This seems to reflect some regret on Musk's part. At one point two years ago, Musk had more than a 20% stake in Tesla, as CNN notes, but he sold off a bunch of shares in order to fund his purchase of Twitter, reducing his stake to 13%. In December 2022, after owning Twitter for two months, Musk sold another $3.6 billion in Tesla stock, apparently to help prop up Twitter, as Forbes reported.
Musk's moves in 2022 to take Twitter private, and the amount of air time online that the whole debacle took up, appeared to have a direct impact on Tesla's stock value — and shareholders at the time appeared to be readying to revolt.
Tesla shareholders did end up suing in Delaware Chancery Court last year about Musk's compensation package, which was set at $56 billion in stock in 2018, and a resolution in that lawsuit is what is holding up any new compensation negotiations, Musk said in his tweet.
The latest talk about compensation, and this apparent threat to take his talents elsewhere, comes as Tesla expands from a car and battery company to a robotics and AI company as well — and Musk has said he thinks that the company's robots could be more valuable than its cars someday.
Musk launched his own AI venture last year, X.AI, which has a chatbot in the works. And meanwhile Tesla's robotics arm has a humanoid robot called Optimus in development — it was seen in a widely share video on Xitter Monday folding a t-shirt like the best, if not the quickest, Gap store employee.
Tesla Optimus robot folds a tshirt🤖 pic.twitter.com/Cpftb4xJBm— Tansu Yegen (@TansuYegen) January 16, 2024
In related news, was that leak to the Wall Street Journal last week about Elon's alleged recreational drug use part of this Tesla compensation negotiation?
And in other related news, people in more frozen parts of the country are apparently having some trouble getting their Teslas open, when the doors are frozen.
Top image: Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk reacts during an in-conversation event with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Lancaster House on November 2, 2023 in London, England. Sunak discussed AI with Elon Musk in a conversation that is played on the social network X, which Musk owns. (Photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)