Elon Musk tweets, deletes brag that Tesla will be biggest company ‘in a few months’

Elon Musk, chairman and chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc., speaks in front of a Tesla Model S electric car on day two of the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010. The 2010 Detroit auto show runs through January 24 and features 60 new vehicle premieres. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk boasted early Friday to his nearly 50 million Twitter followers that his company could be “the biggest” in a few months. 

“I think there is a >0% chance Tesla could become the biggest company,” he tweeted at 4:18 a.m. Eastern time in response to Twitter user who stated that the electric car manufacturer could be bigger than Apple and tagged Musk.

Another user responded, “I love the direction of that arrow!” To which Musk replied: “Probably within a few months.”

That tweet has since been deleted, but screenshots from multiple users who posted Musk’s tweets showed the early-morning declarations.

graphical user interface, text, application, chat or text message: Tesla CEO Elon Musk boasted about his expectations for the company's growth in a series of tweets early Friday morning. The second tweet has since been deleted. Screenshots from multiple users who posted Musk’s tweets showed the early morning declarations.© Faiz Siddiqui/TWP Tesla CEO Elon Musk boasted about his expectations for the company’s growth in a series of tweets early Friday morning. The second tweet has since been deleted. Screenshots from multiple users who posted Musk’s tweets showed the early morning declarations.Tesla fans quickly reacted, urging other Twitter users to delete screenshots of those tweets over fears the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission might take notice. Others called for Tesla fans to buy more stock.

The federal regulator declined to comment. A Tesla representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dan Ives, the managing director of equity research for Wedbush Securities, called Musk’s Twitter barrages a frustration for investors, though he said he’s not anticipating any action from regulators.

“Elon is Elon, and that’s part of his interaction with his followers and commenting on a range of issues. But when it comes to some of these tweets, it’s like a kid that keeps playing with firecrackers,” he said. “Right now, investors don’t want to see any noise or sideshows from Tesla and Musk. They just want to see results, deliveries, and ultimately something that would drive the stock higher.”

Musk’s tweets have been the subject of amusement, investor lawsuits and a securities fraud charge by the SEC.

In September 2018, the agency charged Musk with securities fraud after he tweeted to his followers that he could take Tesla private at $420 per share and that he already had the funding to do so — just pending a shareholder vote. The SEC alleged that the “series of false and misleading tweets” caused Tesla’s stock price to jump more than 6 percent that day and significantly disrupted the market. Musk and Tesla ultimately reached a settlement with the SEC, with each paying a $20 million penalty, and Musk had to step down from his position as chairman of the board for three years.

In April 2019, that settlement was amended to establish oversight for Musk’s Twitter activity, in which Tesla’s securities lawyers would need to preapprove any communication about the company’s financial condition.

Earlier this month, Tesla investor Chase Gharrity filed a lawsuit over Musk’s “erratic” tweets that he said influenced the markets and cost shareholders billions of dollars in losses, Reuters reported. One of the tweets named in the complaint was from May, when Musk tweeted “Tesla stock price is too high imo” and Tesla stock price fell by 10 percent.

Elon Musk moved to Texas and embraced celebrity. Can Tesla run on Autopilot?And Musk’s latest Twitter spiel comes just one day after the National Labor Relations Board called on Tesla to have Musk delete a tweet from 2018 discouraging unionization and rehire a former employee the company fired, upholding a 2019 administrative law judge ruling that stated the company engaged in unfair labor practices.

As of Friday morning, the tweet was still up. It reads: “Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets 22.”

Tesla shares were down in midday trading Friday, hovering near $618, down about 3.4 percent. The company with a more than $612.1 billion market cap is expected to release its quarterly earnings in late April or early May.

Ives pointed out Tesla’s rising competition in the electric vehicle market — with automakers General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford now jumping into production — as a reason for the company to focus on its products instead of boasting about expectations for growth.

“When the stock’s moving up on a parabolic run and Musk has the golden touch, he can’t do anything wrong. But it’s also understanding right now the environment for EVs,” he said. “It’s no longer just Tesla running the show. It’s a ‘prove me’ time, not only for Tesla but for Musk.”

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