JP Morgan Sues Tesla for $162m after Musk Tweets

JP Morgan Chase is suing Tesla for $162 (£121m) over tweets in 2018 by boss Elon Musk that he could take the electric car maker private.

The bank accused Tesla of “flagrantly” breaching a deal it claims should have triggered payments to JP Morgan.

Mr. Musk’s notorious tweets that he had funding to take Tesla off the New York stock market sparked volatility in the share price.

He later abandoned the move and was fined by the US financial regulator.

JP Morgan’s suit, filed in a Manhattan federal court, says the companies had an agreement signed in 2014 that allowed the bank to buy Tesla shares at a set price and date.

Under the deal, Tesla sold so-called warrants to JP Morgan allowing the bank to purchase shares if the “strike” price was below Tesla’s share price when the warrants expired in June and July 2021.

JP Morgan said the warrants contained standard provisions that allowed it to adjust its price to protect both parties against the economic effects of “significant corporate transactions involving Tesla,” such as an announcement the company was going private.

Mr. Musk’s tweeted on 7 August 2018 tweet that he might take Tesla, private, at $420 per share and had “funding secured”. He scrapped the plan 17 days later.

Tesla’s share price rose approximately 10-fold by the time the warrants expired this year, and JP Morgan said this required Tesla under its contract to hand over shares of its stock or cash.

Failure to do so, said JP Morgan, amounted to a default.

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