On August 7, 2018, Elon Musk, CEO and Chairman of Silicon Valley-based Tesla Inc., tweeted to his 22 million Twitter followers that he could take Tesla private at $420 per share (a substantial premium to its trading price at the time), that funding for the transaction had been secured, and that the only remaining uncertainty was a shareholder vote. According to the SEC, Musk’s tweets caused Tesla’s stock price to jump by over six percent on August 7 and led to significant market disruption.
The SEC subsequently charged him with securities fraud for a series of false and misleading tweets about a potential transaction to take Tesla private. Were these charges justified? Why or why not?