Elon Musk commits to SEC settlement despite mocking tweets

Kathy Hutchins  Shutterstock

Kathy Hutchins Shutterstock

SEC settlements haven't met much resistance from courts since a judge's decision to reject a settlement between the SEC and Citigroup Inc.

James Murdoch, son of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, is the leading candidate to take over the chairman role at Tesla, the Financial Times reported Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The deal does not require Musk to admit that he misled investors when he tweeted about taking Tesla private in August at $420 a share.

While the company didn't respond to a request for comment, Elon Musk did tweet a photo of what seems to be a Teslaquila prototype.

Musk agreed to step down as chairman of the auto company in late September as part of a settlement with the SEC.

James Murdoch, who serves as a director on Tesla's board, is set to end his innings as 21st Century Fox's CEO.

Silicon Valley-based Musk created the electric carmaker and aerospace company SpaceX, which has been launching space rockets in an attempt to win commercial space transportation business in future - and realising Musk's talk of colonising Mars.

Musk is the public face of Tesla, and any chairman would have to contend with his powerful personality.

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Tesla filed a trademark for Teslaquila with the US Patent and Trademark Office earlier this week. Musk will remain as CEO. One of the FT's sources said external candidates were still being considered.

Musk is thought to favor Antonio Gracias, who is an independent director at Tesla and a key investor.

Besides finding a a new chairman, Tesla will also have to add two additional independent directors to its board.

The SEC said it weighed the seriousness of the alleged violations and their impact on the market against the willingness of Tesla and Musk to settle and their lack of financial gain from the conduct, according to the filing.

The carmaker is considering raising some of the $5 billion it intends to invest in the plant near Shanghai from local partners.

Under terms of the SEC settlement, Musk is not permitted to be re-elected to the chairman's post for three years.

Tesla will also establish a new board committee responsible for disclosures.

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