WILMINGTON, Del. — Tesla CEO Elon Musk took the witness stand today to defend his company’s 2016 acquisition of a troubled company called SolarCity against a shareholder lawsuit that claims Musk was to blame for a deal that was rife with conflicts of interest and failed to produce the profits he had promised.
In a sometimes testy exchange with a plaintiffs’ attorney, Musk denied any conflict of interest, saying he had nothing to gain from the all-stock acquisition because he owned shares of both companies.
“Some of your questions,” he told the opposing attorney,” are really tricky and deceptive.”
In the runup to Tesla Inc.’s 2016 acquisition of the company, Musk hailed the deal as a “no brainer” — a purchase that would combine the leading maker of electric vehicles with a manufacturer of solar panels that can recharge EVs.
It didn’t exactly work out that way.