On Monday, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, as well as the owner of the social network X (formerly Twitter), expressed his desire to have control of over 25 percent of the voting power in his electric vehicle company.
As of the third quarter of 2023, Musk already owns a significant portion of Tesla—around 13 percent, which translates to roughly 411 million shares out of the company’s total of 3.19 billion common stock shares.
This ownership is noteworthy, especially when considering that in 2022, Musk sold many of his Tesla shares, amounting to tens of billions of dollars. He did this mainly to fund a $44 billion buyout of Twitter using borrowed money, as reported by CNBC.
Tesla is not one startup, but a dozen
Musk is now seeking increased influence over Tesla. In a post on Monday, he mentioned, “I am uncomfortable growing Tesla to be a leader in AI & robotics without having ~25% voting control. Enough to be influential, but not so much that I can’t be overturned.”
“Unless that is the case, I would prefer to build products outside of Tesla,” Musk said on X. “You don’t seem to understand that Tesla is not one startup, but a dozen. Simply look at the delta between what Tesla does and GM. As for stock ownership itself being enough motivation, Fidelity and other[s] own similar stakes to me. Why don’t they show up for work?”
Tesla has not provided an immediate comment in response to the request for a statement.
However, Musk had previously indicated Tesla is already a significant player in artificial intelligence and robotics. He also emphasized the importance of these areas for the company’s value, as reported by CNBC.
In April 2022, during Tesla’s first-quarter earnings call, Musk had predicted that Tesla’s humanoid robot, Optimus, “ultimately will be worth more than the car business and worth more than full self-driving.”
95% of Tesla’s revenue came from its automotive segment
In Tesla’s most recent annual filing (10-K), it was revealed that about 95 percent of its revenue in 2022 came from the automotive segment.
Nevertheless, in the third-quarter 2023 financial filing, the company shifted its focus, describing its business as “increasingly focused on products and services based on artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation.”
Even as recently as Monday morning (January 15) Musk shared a video clip on X showcasing the development of the Optimus robot. It was folding laundry at a table. The fact that the robot was operated remotely and not yet autonomous is noteworthy.
Musk’s expressed desire for more control over Tesla is likely to put additional pressure on the company’s board of directors in 2024, as reported by CNBC.
Optimus folds a shirt pic.twitter.com/3F5o3jVLq1
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 15, 2024