Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, has demanded over $80 billion worth of company shares from its board to continue his involvement in developing AI-based products. Musk, who currently owns 13% of Tesla, argued that owning 25% would protect against takeovers and provide sufficient control as the company ventures into robotics and AI technology. The requested additional 12% of Tesla shares would effectively recoup Musk's investment in his struggling acquisition of Twitter.
Musk expressed discomfort in leading Tesla's AI and robotics endeavors without significant voting control, emphasizing the need for influence while allowing for the possibility of being overturned. He mentioned a preference for developing products outside Tesla unless the board addresses his request, contingent on a Delaware judge ruling in an ongoing lawsuit challenging a previous compensation plan.
The demand underscores Musk's significant influence on Tesla, the world's most valuable carmaker, despite its recent stock challenges. Musk's actions, such as selling Tesla shares for the Twitter acquisition, have impacted the stock price and led to regulatory scrutiny. While Tesla's stock has experienced fluctuations, it remains up approximately 60% over the last 12 months.
Musk did not specify the nature of the products he might develop outside Tesla, but he has initiated a separate AI venture called X.AI. Tesla is actively involved in AI with projects like the Optimus robot showcased in a video on Musk's social media platform, X. Musk's statement received mixed responses, with some supporting his stance while others held him responsible for the decline in his Tesla stake. Musk argued that a stake of less than 15% would make Tesla vulnerable to takeovers by "dubious interests."
--------This article is partly excerpted from The New York Times.