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Elon Musk Wins Tesla Shareholder Lawsuit Over 2015 Tweet

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Elon Musk has defeated a shareholder lawsuit alleging tweets claiming he had the “funding secured” to take Tesla private cost investors billions of dollars in losses.

The verdict was delivered on Friday in San Francisco federal court after a three-week trial, in a victory for the billionaire chief executive of the electric-vehicle maker. The nine-person jury took just under two hours to reach its decision, which was unanimous.

“The jury got it right,” Alex Spiro, a lawyer for Musk, said after the verdict.

Representing “thousands” of Tesla investors in the class action suit, lead attorney Nicholas Porritt had framed the case as an important test of rules and regulations for financial markets and society more broadly during closing arguments earlier on Friday in federal court.

“Rules that apply to everyone else should apply to Elon Musk,” Porritt said. “Elon Musk published false tweets, with reckless disregard to the truth, and those tweets caused investors harm. Lots of harm.”

He concluded: “All of corporate America is watching.”

Musk, who had taken the stand as a witness in the case, was in court during closing arguments. The case centered on his August 7, 2015, tweet declaring he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share and had funding secured to do so. It spun the shares, with Nasdaq temporarily halting trading in the electric vehicle company due to volatility.

During the trial, and again during the plaintiff’s closing argument on Friday, jurors were shown a chart detailing the leap in Tesla’s share price in the immediate aftermath of the contentious tweets. The stock jumped to $379.57 on the day of Musk’s tweet and later fell to $305.50 when it became clear the go-private move would not happen.

Elon Musk’s Tweet

While Musk had held discussions with Saudi Arabian investors to take the company private, no deal ever materialized. But Spiro said Musk had not misrepresented having funding and that raising the money needed was “not an issue”, since Musk’s shares in his company SpaceX could have been used to cover any shortfall.

Although Musk was serious about taking Tesla private and could have tapped enough funding to do so, the company did not go private because “shareholders wanted to stay public”, Spiro told the jury.

“That was his motive — to do what was right for the shareholders,” Spiro continued. “This was always for the shareholders.”

He added: “Ultimately, whatever you think of him, this isn’t the ‘bad tweeter’ trial. This is the ‘did this man commit fraud’ trial.”

Earlier in the trial, Spiro said the “funding secured” tweets were a “split-second decision” from Musk in response to an article the Financial Times was preparing to publish about Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund building a $2bn stake in Tesla. Musk said he was concerned news of the go-private talks would leak.

Tesla Stock

The court has instructed jurors that it is to be assumed that Musk’s tweets were false. At issue was whether the actions caused material harm by misrepresenting the company’s position in a manner that might prompt a “reasonable investor” to buy or sell Tesla stock.

“When Elon tweets about Tesla, people listen,” Porritt said.

Jurors heard earlier in the trial from Glen Littleton, the lead plaintiff, that he interpreted the tweet to mean Tesla’s going private was “completely definite in my mind”.

Another investor, Tim Fries, bought Tesla stock at $380, believing the company would go private at $420, as Musk had suggested in his tweet. “I lost money,” Fries told the jury, saying Musk’s tweet “gave me the confidence” that his investment was sound.

Harvard Law School professor Guhan Subramanian, testifying on behalf of plaintiffs, described Musk’s handling of the matter as “incoherent” and an “extreme outlier” in corporate dealmaking.

The “funding secured” tweet has already proven costly for Musk. He and Tesla each paid $20mn to settle legal action from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Musk also had to resign as the carmaker’s chair, although he kept his position as chief executive.

Business

Walmart To Acquire Smart TV Maker Vizio For $2.3 Billion In Bid To Boost Its Advertising Business

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Walmart is paying $2.3 billion for smart TV maker Vizio to boost its quickly growing advertising business and compete with Amazon.

If the purchase is completed, Walmart will gain access to Vizio’s SmartCast operating system, allowing the retail juggernaut to offer its suppliers the opportunity to display adverts on streaming devices.

Walmart Connect, which provides marketers with access to Walmart’s large consumer base, has helped the company grow its media and advertising business. Walmart reported on Tuesday that its global advertising business increased by nearly 28% to $3.4 billion last year.

The developments follow Amazon’s announcement last month that it will begin charging Prime members $2.99 per month to keep their films and TV series ad-free, in addition to the $14.99 per month or $139 per year Prime price.

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What does Walmart stand to gain from a television manufacturer?

Vizio’s SmartCast technology has 18 million active accounts and has increased 400% since 2018. The firms claim that Vizio’s platform has over 500 direct advertisers and that ads now account for most of the company’s gross profit.

In recent years, makers of streaming gear, such as Roku and Vizio, have moved their focus to advertising revenue. Vizio established its Vizio Ads business unit in 2019, claiming to be “one of the few connected TV companies with the device penetration, consumer opt-in, and infrastructure to deliver meaningful scale.”

Walmart saw Vizio’s growing consumer base and grabbed the opportunity to develop its Walmart Connect business.

“We believe the combination of these two businesses would be impactful as we redefine the intersection of retail and entertainment,” said Seth Dallaire, executive vice president and chief revenue officer at Walmart U.S.

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Who else is ramping up screen advertising?

Other large streamers, such as Netflix and Disney, have embraced the dual model, allowing them to generate revenue from commercials while simultaneously allowing customers to opt-out for a higher charge.

However, in the ever-changing streaming industry, whether consumers are prepared to pay more to see fewer commercials when they already pay subscription fees, frequently for numerous providers, remains to be seen. Many consumers “cut the cord” and ditched cable TV because they were frustrated with their ever-increasing fees.

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How did the companies’ shares fare?

Vizio stock rose about 15% in the afternoon, reaching $10.96 per share.

Walmart’s stock jumped 3.1% to $175.66 per share after exceeding Wall Street’s expectations with its sales and profit on Tuesday.

Roku, one of Vizio’s primary competitors, saw its stock drop 6.4% by midday.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Sacked Twitter Staff In Ghana Finally Get Pay-Off

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X, then known as Twitter, has finally paid out the employees it fired from its African offices more than a year ago, according to the agency that represents them.

Most had just been with the social media network in Ghana’s capital, Accra, for a few months before they were let go in November 2022.

They had threatened to sue X for failing to pay the redundancy money they said they were promised.

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Sacked Twitter Staff In Ghana Finally Get Pay-Off

The corporation has yet to respond.

X previously stated that it had paid ex-employees in full.

Elon Musk, who took over the corporation in 2022, launched a large global workforce layoff, dismissing almost 6,000 individuals. He said he was losing more than $4 million (£3.5 million) daily.

The African contingent, which numbered fewer than 20, had only recently relocated to X’s new office in

Accra after eight months of working from home during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Sacked Twitter Staff In Ghana Finally Get Pay-Off

Agency Seven, the organisation providing legal representation to the workforce, stated that it had successfully obtained a redundancy settlement and repatriation fees for foreign employees but did not indicate the payout size.

“They are very pleased to finally be able to get their due, put this behind them, and look forward to the future,” Agency Seven Seven spokesperson Carla Olympio told the BBC.

Last year, terminated employees told the BBC that their treatment at X had impacted their mental health and money.

“It’s difficult when it’s the world’s richest man owing you money and closure,” one of them stated.

They claimed they were initially assured that they would be paid to work for one more month while their contracts were being terminated. However, they were instantly shut out of their emails, and no more wage payments were issued.

Since then, the crew has reported a difficult battle for compensation.

Some had migrated from adjacent nations, such as Nigeria. Their contract was terminated, leaving them and their families stuck in Ghana.

In a rare interview with the BBC last April, Mr Musk revealed that the social media powerhouse had 1,500 staff, down from just under 8,000 when he bought the company.

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Sacked Twitter Staff In Ghana Finally Get Pay-Off

When the news of Mr Musk’s extreme workforce reduction broke, he tweeted that laid-off employees received three months’ severance compensation.

However, staff members in the Africa office claim they still need this.

According to Agency Seven Seven, X only started negotiating with the terminated African staff after the BBC publicised the news.

Last year, ex-employees filed a complaint in a California court accusing X of failing to pay at least $500 million in promised severance benefits.

SOURCE – (BBC)

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TikTok Faces European Union Scrutiny For Possible Breaches Of Strict New Digital Rulebook

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Why Buying TikTok Views is the Best Way to Maximize Followers

LONDON — The European Union announced Monday that it is investigating whether TikTok violated the bloc’s harsh new digital standards for cleaning up social media and keeping internet users secure.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive department, said it has “opened formal proceedings to assess” whether TikTok violated the Digital Services Act, which went into effect last year.

The DSA is a comprehensive collection of regulations to keep internet users safe online, including measures to make it easy to flag dangerous or unlawful content such as hate speech, provide users with alternatives to algorithmic suggestions, and prohibit adverts targeting children.

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TikTok Faces European Union Scrutiny For Possible Breaches Of Strict New Digital Rulebook

The commission is looking at whether TikTok is doing enough to address “systemic risks” posed by its design, such as “algorithmic systems” that may promote “behavioural addictions.” It added measures such as age verification software to prevent children from accessing “inappropriate content” may not be “reasonable, proportionate, and effective.”

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TikTok Faces European Union Scrutiny For Possible Breaches Of Strict New Digital Rulebook

“Minor protection is the DSA’s primary enforcement priority. TikTok, as a platform that reaches millions of children and teens, must completely comply with the DSA and plays an important role in the protection of minors online,” said Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, in a news statement. “We are launching this formal infringement proceeding today to ensure that proportionate action is taken to protect the physical and emotional well-being of young Europeans.”

TikTok has “pioneered features and settings to protect teens and keep under 13s off the platform, issues the whole industry is grappling with,” the business stated in a statement. “We’ll continue to work with experts and industry to keep young people on TikTok safe, and look forward to now having the opportunity to explain this work in detail to the Commission.”

The commission also looks into TikTok’s minor privacy policies, ad transparency, and whether researchers can access data.

tiktok

TikTok Faces European Union Scrutiny For Possible Breaches Of Strict New Digital Rulebook

The EU has designated nearly two dozen of the largest internet and social media companies, including TikTok, deserving the most intense scrutiny under the DSA and heavy fines if they fail to comply. The bloc is already probing Elon Musk’s X, formerly known as Twitter, for breaches such as failure to control the dissemination of illicit content.

SOURCE – (AP)

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