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馬斯克泄露公司生產數據,恐再遭SEC起訴

Erik Sherman 2019年08月13日

他在7月底對太陽能屋頂瓦產量的評論可能會讓他和公司再一次陷入監管困境。

埃隆·馬斯克的檔案顯示,他從2007年至今已經發布了8,339條推文——畢竟,他經營了那么多家公司。這位特斯拉(Tesla)的首席執行官可能不是發推文最多的人,不過考慮到他有2,760萬粉絲,影響力巨大,這位男人在推特(Twitter)絕對獨樹一幟。而他在7月底對太陽能屋頂瓦產量的評論可能會讓他和公司再一次陷入監管困境。

馬斯克之前就曾經在推特上惹是生非,他不慎公開過自己的手機號碼,還把參與泰國足球隊救援工作的一位潛水員稱作“傻瓜”。

隨后,他又聲稱要將公司私有化卻并未實施,這使他陷入與美國證券交易委員會(SEC)的爭端。最終雙方達成和解,馬斯克和特斯拉各被罰款2,000萬美元,馬斯克也被迫放棄特斯拉董事長的職務長達三年。

美國證券交易委員會的和解協議旨在阻止馬斯克通過社交媒體的評論影響公司的股價。馬斯克答應的條件之一就是在沒有獲得特斯拉聘用的“資深證券律師的事先許可”時,不得提及“尚未由公司事先核準的書面信息(“官方公司指導”)發布,或與已經發布的官方公司指導有所出入的產量、銷售量或出貨量(無論是實際數據、預測數據還是計劃數據)。”

7月底,他發布了關于公司“達到應用規模的能量儲存技術”,也就是其電池業務相關的一篇新聞稿的鏈接。作者瑞安·麥克卡弗雷回復時問道:“太陽能屋頂瓦的進展如何了?你們在研發新款產品(第三代?),沒錯吧?”

馬斯克不到一個小時就給予了回復:“在迅速擴大生產線。希望在今年年底前每周能生產大約1,000個太陽能屋頂。”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk may not be the most prolific tweeter, with 8,339 completed messages since 2007, according to his profile—he is running multiple companies, after all. But when it comes to his 27.6 million followers and his impact, the man is in a class by himself. And a tweet in the end of July about production of solar roof tiles may have landed him and the company back in regulatory hot water.

Musk has had tweet wars with others, once accidentally publicized his cell phone number, and called a diver involved in the rescue of a Thai soccer team a “pedo.”

And then there was the unrealized claim of taking the company private, which set off an involved dispute with the SEC that resulted in a consent decree, $20 million-dollar fines for both Musk and Tesla, and Musk stepping down as Tesla chairman for three years.

The SEC decree was intended to keep Musk from affecting the company’s stock price through comments on social media. Among other things, he agreed not to mention “production numbers or sales or delivery numbers (whether actual, forecast, or projected) that have not been previously published via pre-approved written communications issued by the Company (“Official Company Guidance”) or deviate from previously published Official Company Guidance” without the “pre-approval of an experienced securities lawyer” employed by Tesla.

In the end of July, he linked to a press release about the company’s “utility-scale energy storage”—in other words, an aspect of its battery business. Journalist Ryan McCaffrey replied with the question, “How’s solar roof tile progress going? You were working on a new version (V3?) of that, right?.”

Within an hour, Musk responded, “Spooling up production line rapidly. Hoping to manufacture ~1000 solar roofs/week by end of this year.”

《財富》雜志回顧了特斯拉2019年第一季度和第二季度的季報,以及2018年的年報,其中并未提及太陽能屋頂生產線的產量。

《財富》雜志隨后與特斯拉的公關部門進行了聯系,詢問推文是否得到了律師同意,不過目前尚未得到回復。

特斯拉面臨的難題在于,太陽能業務在財報中被列為了公司的組成部分之一。

法律公司Dorsey Whitney的合伙人托馬斯·戈爾曼表示:“如果這個數據涉及公司的經營品種之一,他透露了經營品種的數據,那牽扯的就是特斯拉。如果他說的是另一件事情——例如(特斯拉在2016年收購的)Solar City的業務——我們在并購Solar City上做得相當不錯——那就不一樣了。”

戈爾曼補充道:“如果雙方重返法庭對峙,這可不是個好論點,法官不會高興的。我可不愿意為這個論點辯護。”(財富中文網)

譯者:嚴匡正

A Fortune review of the 10-Q financial filings for the first and second quarters of 2019 and of the 10-K for 2018 showed no production numbers for the Solar Roof product line.

Fortune contacted Tesla’s PR department to ask whether the tweet was cleared with a lawyer, but has not yet received an answer.

The challenge for Tesla is that the solar energy business is listed in financial filings as a division of the company.

“If that’s broken out as one of the business lines and he’s giving out numbers on the business line, that's Tesla,” said Thomas Gorman, a partner at law firm Dorsey Whitney. “If he was talking about something separate, like the Solar City business [that Tesla acquired in 2016]— we’re doing pretty good with the Solar City acquisition — that’s different.”

“This is not a great argument and if they go back to court, the judge will not be happy,” Gorman added. “I would not like to defend that argument.”

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