Tesla CEO Elon Musk is looking for a trade: power for influence. It’s an oversimplification, but he wants 25% of the company’s voting power in order to continue developing AI-based technologies.
Musk, who is the world’s richest person while holding 13% of Tesla’s stock, revealed his desire to have his voting impact doubled in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday.
“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,” he wrote, adding, “Unless that is the case, I would prefer to build products outside of Tesla. You don’t seem to understand …”
What don’t we understand?
Must goes on to post what various ownership scenarios mean, such as having 25% meanings he’s “influential, but can be overridden if twice as many shareholders vote against me vs for me.”
A smaller stake, such as 15% makes it too easy for “dubious interests” to veto him. He also noted he’d be fine with a dual-class voting structure, such as the one at Ford Motor Co. or Meta, but he was told “it is impossible to achieve post-IPO in Delaware.”
What’s the problem?
For Musk, it appears to be about freedom and control. He notes he thinks the current Tesla board is “great.” But if they don’t like the direction of something he’s working on, they could corral those efforts.
Also, there are some financial considerations at stake. If Musk begins developing products and technology outside the company, it could trigger some conflict-of-interest issues. Is something Musk develops Tesla’s property or Musk’s? That line can get blurry in a hurry.