Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted early Friday morning that “I think there is a >0% chance Tesla could be the biggest company” and added, “probably within a few months” in replies to followers.
Musk’s tweet offering guidance on timing for an anticipated increase in Tesla’s market cap has since been deleted, but screenshots were widely shared on Twitter.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has clashed with Musk and Tesla over the CEO’s unfettered use of Twitter before.
In the third quarter of 2018, Musk faced securities fraud charges from the SEC after he tweeted to his tens of millions of followers then that he was planning to take Tesla private at $420 a share, and had secured funding to do so. Tesla’s stock price jumped more than 6 percent that day.
Musk and Tesla struck a settlement agreement, with the CEO individually and company each paying a $20 million fine, and agreeing they could not claim innocence, among other terms.
However, the SEC sued him for breaching that agreement after he tweeted about Tesla production numbers in early 2019, which they said was a violation of terms.
As a term of their revised settlement agreement, Tesla is obligated to approve all written communications, including tweets and other social media posts, Musk intends to share that contain material information about the company. The company has never said publicly who holds the role known, in parlance, as Elon Musk’s “twitter sitter.”
More recently, a Tesla shareholder named Chase Gharrity filed a lawsuit in Delaware Chancery Court over Musk’s continued use of Twitter, saying he has cost shareholders billions of dollars in losses, for example, when he tweeted in May 2020 that Tesla’s stock price was too high in his opinion. Tesla shares fell by 10 percent after that, representing more than a $13 billion decline in Tesla’s market value.
Musk has also commented on the price of cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, via tweets from his account, which currently boasts 49.7 million followers.
Yesterday, the National Labor Relations Board decided and ordered Tesla to direct Musk to remove past tweets that the federal agency deemed threatening to employees. The company and Musk have time to comply with the order but the offending material has not yet been removed from Twitter.
The SEC and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.