Elon Musk Says Plan to Take Tesla Private at $420 a Share Totally Wasn’t a Joke

A few self-inflicted outrage cycles back, Elon Musk got into big trouble for what appeared to be a dumb little joke. In 2018, the Tesla CEO tweeted that he had “funding

secured” to take the company private at $420 a share — a marijuana reference he picked in part because he thought his girlfriend, the musician Grimes, would “find it funny.” The

Securities and Exchange Commission didn’t find it amusing and charged him with securities fraud for misleading investors. Musk eventually settled with the SEC but is still

dealing with the tweet five years later in a class-action lawsuit brought by shareholders seeking unspecified damages and alleging that he misled investors and caused financial

losses. On Monday, as he testified in federal court in San Francisco, he tried to explain the $420 comment. He said it was a “coincidence” that the number was both a well-known

weed reference and a 20 percent premium of Tesla’s shares in the summer of 2018. He said he did not do it “because his girlfriend found it funny” — directly contradicting his

statement to the SEC in 2018 that he did it because he thought it would make Grimes laugh.