Musk Reiterates Demand For More Control Of Tesla Saying It’s To Safeguard Against AI Tech Going ‘Awry’


Tesla CEO Elon Musk Wednesday reiterated his demand for greater control over the company’s voting rights—to enable the company to pursue advanced AI and robotics technology—in a post on his social media platform X, hours after the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report for 2023 missed analyst estimates and caused shares to drop nearly 6% in after-hours trading.

Key Facts

Musk shared a clip of Tesla’s fourth-quarter earnings call that took place earlier Wednesday, pointing to his concerns about building advanced AI tech within Tesla without more control, saying: “Money doesn’t matter if powerful technology goes awry.”

In the earnings call, the Tesla CEO said he saw a “path to creating an artificial intelligence and robotics juggernaut of truly immense capability and power,” at the company.

But Musk said such a move would concern him if he had “so little influence” over Tesla that he could “be opted out by some sort of shareholder advisory firm,” insisting that this was not about controlling this supposed juggernaut.

Musk said the company has faced a lot of problems with “Institutional Shareholder Services…I call them ISIS, and Glass Lewis” and activist investors that “infiltrate those organizations” and have “strange ideas”.

The Tesla CEO said he’s open to a dual-class share structure to enable his demand for control of 25% of Tesla’s voting power, adding that it’s not so large that “if I go bonkers…they can’t throw me out.”

Crucial Quote

“I’m not looking for additional economics. I just want to be an effective steward of very powerful technology,” Musk said in the call.

Big Number

13%. That is the amount of Tesla stock currently owned by Elon Musk, excluding options. The number rises to 22% when options are added.

Key Background

Last week, Musk made a series of posts on X saying he was “uncomfortable growing Tesla to be a leader in AI & robotics” without having around 25% of the voting power in the company. The billionaire said he would “prefer to build products” outside of Tesla if his demand was not met. Musk argued that 15% or lower voting power means “a takeover by dubious interests [is] too easy.”

Further Reading

Tesla Profits Declined 23% In 2023 (Forbes)

Tesla Drops In Pre-Market After Musk Seeks 25% Control Of The Company (Forbes)

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