On Friday evening - the same day that it was reported that an FBI investigation into Model 3 production numbers was "intensifying" - Elon Musk again took to Twitter to taunt regulators, not only proclaiming that his $20 million fine from the SEC was "worth it" but also that the ongoing FBI/Department of Justice investigation into the company was "total BS". After that, he announced his intention to start buying $20M in stock as soon as Monday of the upcoming week.
Musk led off on Friday with a conversation about Twitter, calling the criticism on the social media network "brutal" and saying that "likes" were rare. Then, when asked by another user about the "like" ratio on his "funding secured" Tweet, Musk responded it was "worth it".
Worth it— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2018
After that, Musk also went on a separate thread, seemingly boasting with confidence that the Department of Justice would be unable to find evidence that Musk or his team knowingly misled investors about production targets.
Musk turned his sights to a Tweet put out on Friday by Fox Business News reporter Charlie Gasparino. After the Wall Street Journal beat Gasparino to the punch on the story about the FBI/DOJ looking into Model 3 production numbers, Gasparino obligatorily chimed in, calling it "not really that much of a story" and stating that a "law enforcement source" told him the Feds would have to find tangible proof that Musk was lying about the Model 3 production schedule. He called the FBI's task "not impossible, but really difficult".
To which Musk responded, "Exactly, this is total bs. What part of 'production hell' sounds like a sure thing?!"
Exactly, this is total bs. What part of “production hell” sounds like a sure thing!?— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2018
Musk then stated "The FOIA on this will be solid gold. Can’t wait."
Then, when asked about whether or not Musk bought $20M in stock while it was increasing in value this week, he told a Twitter user that he hadn't yet, but he would. When another user suggested he would buy stock during the "next open period", Musk responded "Exactly. That's Monday."
Exactly. That’s Monday.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2018
In a separate Twitter exchange that night, Fred Lambert, head of
Tesla PR arm blog electrek took to Twitter and called Tesla's price reduction of the Model 3 performance version a "shitty thing to do" that was "punishing early adopters". After Musk claimed the company would "make it right", he announced his departure from Twitter for a couple of days.
Signing off Twitter for a few days ...— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2018
Recall that as a result of Musk's settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, he is required to have all of his future correspondence on Twitter approved by the company. We assume that certainly includes Tweets about Musk's intention to buy stock on the open market. It's obvious to assume that last night's tirade was not looked over by anybody.
Musk may have been emboldened by the company's recent quarterly earnings, which shot the stock up more than 20% during the week. However, questions remain about the company's operating expenses and SG&A spend for the quarter as skeptics wait patiently for Tesla to release its 10-Q filing for the quarter.