Why Musk’s Twitter bid has shaken Tesla investors

Some shareholders say that Mr. Musk’s off-the-cuff post on Twitter – he once made comparisons between Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, and Hitler – has already hurt Tesla.

“The guy has said so many controversial things,” said Kristin Hull, founder and CEO of Nia Impact Capital, a fund in Oakland, California, which invests in companies with a positive social impact. «Are they distractions? Are they confusing? Has he interfered in the share value through his tweets? Absolutely.”

When Mr. Musk becomes Twitter’s owner, “it’s just getting bigger,” Hull said. Nia recently sold most of its shares in Tesla, she said, because the fund was dissatisfied with the company’s response to allegations of racism at its Fremont, California plant.

Mr. Musk’s ownership of Twitter may alienate some potential Tesla buyers. Among people considering buying an electric car, Democrats are more than Republicans with almost two to one, according to Morning Consult, a research firm. But Democrats are also the group most likely to be expelled if Mr. Musk, in the name of free speech, opens up Twitter for extremist views or misinformation.

The Twitter acquisition could intensify Mr. Musk’s investigation of stock market regulators. He has been sued by a Twitter shareholder who accuses him of ignoring the deadline to report that he had accumulated a 5 percent stake in the platform.

The lawsuit, filed by Block & Leviton, a Boston law firm, claims that Mr. Musk saved himself tens of millions of dollars by waiting six days after the deadline to disclose his stake. He was able to continue to buy Twitter shares cheaper than would have been possible if his interest was publicly known, the lawsuit claims.

Mr. Musk has a long history of antagonism with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Last month, he failed to convince a New York judge to release him from a 2018 deal with the SEC that requires him to have a corporate lawyer check his social media posts if the statements can move Tesla’s stock price.

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