The prospect that Elon Musk could lose his job as Tesla Inc. CEO over tweets may cost the carkmaker’s shareholders close to $20 billion.
Tesla stock (TSLA) plunged as much as 14 percent in early trading Friday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Musk committed fraud by tweeting last month that he’d secured funding to take the company private. The regulator is seeking to bar Musk from serving as an officer or director of a public company.
At $268.10 -- the stock’s lowest price in the first few minutes of regular trading Friday -- Tesla had a market capitalization of about $45.7 billion, down from $64.8 billion at the close of trading on Aug. 7, the day Musk sent his take-private tweets.
Meanwhile, Musk’s run-in with the SEC may cost Tesla almost half its market capitalization, Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said, adding that the company’s stock has about $130 of “Musk premium” per share that could dissipate.
“Should the SEC be successful in barring Mr. Musk from serving as an officer or director, investors would focus back on the value of Tesla as a niche automaker, rather than a founder-led likely disrupter of multiple industries,” Johnson wrote in a note to clients.
He holds the equivalent of a sell rating on the stock, with a price target of $210, below the average price target of $301 according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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