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Tesla Would 'Die' If He Wasn't CEO, Elon Musk Says In SolarCity Trial

Tesla Would 'Die' If He Wasn't CEO, Elon Musk Says In SolarCity Trial
Billionaire entrepreneur and co-founder of United States based electric car maker Tesla, Elon Musk, said in court that if he wasn’t the chief executive of Tesla, the company would "die", even though he insisted that the control of the electric car maker is essentially controlled by the company’s board. These comments were made by Musk in his first day of testimony on Monday to defend the acquisition of SolarCity by Tesla in 2016.
The celebrity CEO forced the board of Tesla to spend $2.6 billion for financing the all-stock acquisition of SolarCity and as a consequence had depleting Tesla’s assets, alleged the lawsuit that was filed by union pension funds and asset managers.
At the time of the acquisition in 2016, about 22 per cent of stocks of both Tesla and SolarCity were owned by Musk. SolarCity had been founded by Musk’s cousins. A section of the shareholders of Tesla has alleged that Musk had forced the acquisition to bail out his investment in the solar panel manufacturing company.
In court, Musk testified that he has tried "very hard not to be the CEO of Tesla, but I have to or frankly Tesla is going to die”, at the beginning of a two-week trial in Wilmington, Delaware.
Testimony of Tesla board members and others involved in the acquisition will start as soon as Tuesday when musk will also stand on the witness stand.
Musk has been alleged with dominating the deal discussions at Tesla’s board, pressurizing the board to pay more for SolarCity acquisition than its market value and of misleading company shareholders of the deteriorating financial situation of Tesla. 
Musk however dismissed the allegations and said that the SolarCity deal was handled completely by the board and that he was never a part of the board committee that finalised the terms of the acquisition.
"I don't even know what happened," he testified in court
During the gearing, Randall Baron, the shareholder attorney, asked Musk whether the Tesla board vetted his Technoking title, which he gave himself in March.
“It generated a whole bunch of free press and Tesla doesn’t advertise and it’s helpful to general sales,” he said in reply. He called the title a joke: “I think I’m funny.”
At the core of the lawsuit are claims by shareholders that Musk has a minority stake in the Tesla and yet he managed to effectively become a controlling shareholder of the company because of his ties to board members and due to his domineering style. If that is proven, it would impose a tougher legal standard and increase the chances of the court concluding that the SolarCity acquisition was an unfair deal for Tesla shareholders.
Shareholders have sought the court to order Musk to repay Tesla what it spent on the deal.
At the hearing, Musk was asked to define his relationship with the Tesla board by his attorney, Evan Chesler, to which Musk replied: “I’d say good."
"They work hard and are competent. They provide good advice and are rigorous in acting on behalf of shareholders,” Musk added.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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