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特斯拉私有化言论遭到美国证监会严格审查

彭博社 2018年08月15日

不愿透露姓名的人士称,美国证监会旧金山办事处的执行律师已经开始收集特斯拉有关生产和销售目标的公开信息。

据两位知情者爆料,在埃隆·马斯克于上周二发表煽动性的推文,号称要将特斯拉(Tesla Inc.)私有化之后,美国证券与交易委员会(U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)加强了对这家电动汽车公司公开言论的审查。

在私人采访中,不愿透露姓名的人士称,美国证监会旧金山办事处的执行律师已经开始收集特斯拉有关生产和销售目标的公开信息。

其中一人表示,如今,办事处的律师还在检查马斯克声称已有担保资金买下特斯拉的言论是否属实。

证监会的质询还出于初期阶段,未必会有进一步的正式举措。特斯拉尚未被指控有不法行为,也没有回应记者的置评请求。证监会的女发言人朱迪斯·伯恩斯对此也拒绝发表评论。

监管给马斯克带来了额外的压力。他历来喜欢设立销售目标。看涨者认为这象征着雄心勃勃,看衰者则认为这不可能实现。监管方要考虑的则是他的公开声明或公司的经营是否违反了联邦的证券法。一般来说,证监会认为高管言论属于实质信息,必须确保真实性。

围绕特斯拉的推测甚嚣尘上,在长年的挣扎中,马斯克宣布特斯拉开始加速Model 3轿车的生产。这是该公司试图大批量生产的第一款汽车。

在本月早些时候的收入电话会议上,一位分析师问特斯拉是否收到了监管方阻止他们融资的通知。马斯克这几个月一直坚称公司今年不再需要寻求融资,他回应道:“我不确定你在说什么,不过监管方没有给过我们这样的通知。”

里德·哈斯廷斯

Netflix Inc.公司的首席执行官里德·哈斯廷斯在2012年7月发表Facebook称公司流媒体服务的观看时间“首次超过10亿小时”之后,美国证监会首次出台了使用社交媒体披露实质信息的规定。随后,监管方确定不对哈斯廷斯采取执法诉讼,并宣布大部分社交媒体“完美适合”公司信息的交流,只要投资者保持警惕,通过并未受限的途径。

证监会会例行公事地对公司的活动进行质询。如果怀疑公司存在不法行为,初步审查就可能演变为正式调查,最终导致公司或个人遭到执法诉讼。

证券律师表示,马斯克那条可能买断公司的推文还不至于让他陷入法律麻烦,除非事实证明那是假的或并不准确。

特斯拉尚未披露任何买断公司的资金来源,也没有人公开声明愿意资助这一计划。就在马斯克发布推文不到24小时后的上周三,公司的董事会成员表示他们两周前就得知了马斯克的计划。(财富中文网)

译者:严匡正 

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is intensifying its scrutiny of Tesla Inc.’s public statements in the wake of Elon Musk’s provocative tweet last Tuesday about taking the electric-car company private, according to two people familiar with the matter.

SEC enforcement attorneys in the San Francisco office were already gathering general information about Tesla’s public pronouncements on manufacturing goals and sales targets, according to the people who asked not to be named because the review is private.

Now, attorneys from that office are also examining whether Musk’s tweet about having funding secured to buy out the company was meant to be factual, according to one of the people.

The SEC inquiry is preliminary and won’t necessarily lead to anything more formal. Tesla, which hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Judith Burns, an SEC spokeswoman, declined to comment.

The scrutiny adds to pressure on Musk, who has a history of setting sales targets that bulls consider to be aggressive and bears contend are unrealistic. The question for regulators is whether any of his public statements or the company’s run afoul of federal securities laws. Generally, the SEC considers statements by executives to be material information that have to be true.

Speculation has been swirling around Tesla and Musk’s disclosures amid the yearlong struggle the company had ramping up production of the Model 3 sedan, the first vehicle that the company has attempted to mass manufacture.

One analyst asked during an earnings call earlier this month whether Tesla had received a notice from a regulator that would prevent the company from raising capital. Musk, who’s insisted for months that the company wouldn’t need to seek more funding this year, replied: “I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but there’s no such notice from a regulator.”

Reed Hastings

The SEC first ruled on the use of social media for disclosing material information after Netflix Inc. CEO Reed Hastings wrote in a July 2012 Facebook post that views on his company’s video-streaming service had “exceeded 1 billion hours for the first time.” The regulator later determined that Hastings wouldn’t face enforcement action and declared most social media “perfectly suitable” for communicating company information as long as investors are alerted and access isn’t restricted.

The SEC routinely makes inquiries about companies’ activities. In cases where wrongdoing is suspected, an initial review might lead to a formal investigation that could result in companies or individuals being subjected to enforcement action.

Musk’s initial post on a possible buyout probably wouldn’t be enough to put him in legal jeopardy unless it proved to be false or inaccurate, according to securities lawyers.

Tesla hasn’t disclosed any sources of financing for the deal and no one has stepped forward publicly to say they’re backing the plan. On last Wednesday, less than 24 hours after Musk’s initial tweets, company board members said they had been made aware of Musk’s plan two weeks ago.

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