As a former holder of TSLA stock (pre-Musk’s purchase of Twitter), I’m sort of enjoying TSLA’s loss of half its value in 6 months. It still seems overpriced, to me, and should really be more akin to what GM or FORD trade at, especially since Elon Musk has been revealed as a bad CEO.
For a while, I’ve considered Elon Musk a putz, but didn’t think he was evil. Recently, I’ve changed my mind.
It seems he’s been hanging out too much with Peter Thiel, and now Musk is transitioning into one of those supervillains of the 21st C.E., like his good buddy Thiel.
Again, the Peter Thiel/Gawker model.
Yesterday Twitter Inc. sued Elon Musk in Delaware to hold him to his agreement to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share. Twitter’s lawyers are hoping for a quick trial in September, so that the deal can close on schedule in October. You can read Twitter’s complaint here. Here’s the gist of it:
Having mounted a public spectacle to put Twitter in play, and having proposed and then signed a seller-friendly merger agreement, Musk apparently believes that he — unlike every other party subject to Delaware contract law — is free to change his mind, trash the company, disrupt its operations, destroy stockholder value, and walk away. This repudiation follows a long list of material contractual breaches by Musk that have cast a pall over Twitter and its business. Twitter brings this action to enjoin Musk from further breaches, to compel Musk to fulfill his legal obligations, and to compel consummation of the merger upon satisfaction of the few outstanding conditions.
…The basic narrative beats will be familiar. Musk secretly bought a 9.1% stake in Twitter, violating securities laws in the process, then announced that stake and agitated to join Twitter’s board
…Musk announced that he wanted to buy Twitter because he thought there were too many spam bots. He sent in an unsolicited offer to buy Twitter, did no due diligence at all about spam bots, and asked Twitter for no representations about spam bots. He imagined that there were lots of spam bots, and he was eager to “defeat” them. And then the stock market went down, so now he is pretending that he was tricked into buying Twitter because they went around lying to him about how few spam bots there were. This pretext is bad
I am on Tesla’s side on this: why should auto dealerships be in a position to decide whether to push sales of electric cars or not? Seems similar to me as in the old days when Apple Computer1 was relegated to back of the electronic stores like CompUSA and Sears, and consumers were often told by sales reps that it was foolish to purchase Apple computers as Apple was about to go out of business. Car dealers have a vested interest in selling gasoline cars – there are a lot more of those, and commission is commission.
I hope Tesla fights this to the bitter end, and to victory.
When electric-car company Tesla Motors Inc. started selling its flagship Model S luxury hatchback earlier this year, it eschewed the traditional dealership network to open its own stores.
But that’s not sitting well with U.S. auto dealers, who have controlled new-vehicle sales for nearly a century.
The nation’s roughly 18,000 new-car dealers got a cut of every one of the 12.8 million new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. last year, from the biggest domestic sport-utility vehicle to the tiniest Japanese import. It’s an exclusive arrangement that has made many of them very rich — and one that they’re not about to cede to some tiny Palo Alto automaker.
Some individual auto dealers and regional associations have already filed lawsuits attempting to block Tesla, which now operates 16 stores in 12 states. …
The upstart automaker’s battle with dealers is shedding light on a little-known practice that it contends amounts to legalized restriction on trade. The franchised new-car dealership system dates back to the start of the U.S. auto industry, when hundreds of manufacturers were fighting for market share. Setting up showrooms was expensive and time-consuming. So automakers sold other entrepreneurs the right to market their cars in specific cities.
Over time, car dealerships became crucial sources of employment and tax revenue for local communities. To prevent manufacturers from opening their own stores and undercutting neighborhood dealers, states developed laws governing the franchise relationship. Bottom line: Carmakers had to leave their retail sales to someone else.
Tesla isn’t buying it. The company wants to sell directly to consumers. That way it gets to keep the profit that dealers make on new-car sales. It’s also the only way an electric car will get a fair shake, co-founder and Chief Executive Elon Musk said.
“Existing franchise dealers have a fundamental conflict of interest between selling gasoline cars,” Musk said. “It is impossible for them to explain the advantages of going electric without simultaneously undermining their traditional business.”
A South African-born serial entrepreneur, who co-founded an Internet payment company that eventually become PayPal, Musk thrives on disrupting established industries.
(click here to continue reading Electric-car maker Tesla bucks traditional dealership network – chicagotribune.com.)
and this also sounds like Mr. Musk is taking a page from the Steve Jobs blueprint:
It’s hard to get thousands of individual dealers to adhere to consistent sales and customer service standards. That has hurt the industry’s image. Moreover, studies by market research firm J.D. Power and Associates and other organizations have repeatedly found that most car buyers dislike haggling with high-pressure salespeople.
Tesla sells its cars for a set price and Musk said his sales staff does not work on commission. The company is also steering clear of traditional auto rows and opening stores in upscale shopping areas.
Odds are I’ll never become filthy rich enough to purchase a Tesla – though one never knows – but I’ll be rooting for them to succeed.Footnotes:
- before they changed their name and became a manufacturer of iPhones and iPads [↩]