Elon Musk

Elon Musk Seeks Greater Control Over Tesla Ahead of AI Advancements

Author: Mauro Orru Source: WSJ:
January 16, 2024 at 10:03
Elon Musk currently controls about 13% of Tesla. PHOTO: GONZALO FUENTES/REUTERS
Elon Musk currently controls about 13% of Tesla. PHOTO: GONZALO FUENTES/REUTERS

Billionaire says he would prefer to build AI products outside of the car company unless he gets greater control

Elon Musk said he feels uncomfortable making Tesla a leader in artificial intelligence and robotics without having about 25% voting control of the electric-car maker.

Musk said late Monday in a post on X that he wants enough control at Tesla TSLA 0.88%increase; green up pointing triangle to be influential, but not so much that he couldn’t be overruled.

“Unless that is the case, I would prefer to build [AI] products outside of Tesla,” Musk wrote on the social-media platform.

The billionaire currently controls about 13% of Tesla, according to FactSet, having previously sold some of his holding in the company to fund his purchase of what was then called Twitter. 

Tesla shares were down more than 2% in premarket trading Tuesday. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some investors have long been excited about Tesla’s work and plans for deploying AI with driverless cars and humanoid robots. 

In 2022, Musk showed off a new humanoid robot at a Tesla event, part of his efforts to shape public perception of the company as more than just an electric-vehicle maker.

Musk has also separately launched an AI company while calling the technology one of the biggest threats to humanity.

Musk, who serves as chief executive of Tesla, said in another post on X that he would be fine with a dual-class voting structure to gain greater control of the automaker but that he was told it was impossible after its initial public offering.

Companies with a dual-class structure carry two classes of shares with different voting rights, with one class typically offered to company founders and others for general shareholders.

Musk added that from his standpoint, his compensation—which has been subject to a court case—was about ensuring the right amount of voting influence at Tesla.

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