Shareholders must vote on Musk's return as Tesla chairman

James Murdoch, outgoing 21st Century Fox CEO and heir to the Murdoch media empire, was reported to be the favorite to replace Elon Musk as chairman of Tesla.

US District Judge Alison Nathan ordered the brief to show the settlement was "fair and reasonable", which is a common practice in the court.

The eccentric Tesla CEO - who is in the midst of settling fraud charges with the SEC that nearly cost him control of the electric-car maker - appears to be getting into the liquor business.

Elon Musk has been the Chairman of Tesla's Board of Directors, ever since the automaker was founded way back in the year 2003.

For his Boring Company tunneling venture, Musk raised $1 million and drew media attention last year for selling 50,000 branded hats, and earlier this year, he raised $10 million by selling 20,000 branded flamethrowers.

In August, the controversial entrepreneur said he was "considering taking Tesla private" with "funding secured" at US$420 ($580) per share.

The two billionaires are locked in a space race alongside Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, but that has not stopped Branson from sharing some friendly words of encouragement. Since October began, Tesla has also been showing signs that its Model 3 production ramp continues to grow stronger.

Silicon Valley-based Musk created the electric carmaker and aerospace company SpaceX, which has been launching space rockets in an attempt to win commercial space transportation business in future - and realising Musk's talk of colonising Mars.

Musk, in response to the FT story, tweeted, "This is incorrect". He's also paying a $20 million fine. Teases of an eventual global rollout for the electric auto, such as an exhibit in the Paris Motor Show, further suggest that Tesla is steadily gaining its foothold in its efforts to roll out its first mass-market vehicle. Royal Bank of Canada restated a "neutral" rating and set a price objective on shares of Tesla in a research note on Friday, September 28th.

Musk is the public face of Tesla, and any chairman would have to contend with his powerful personality.

Importantly, the settlement requires Tesla to add two new independent members to its board, which is dominated by Musk allies including his brother and longtime investors and friends. Atherton Research says Elon Musk's auto company sold 69,925 of its Model 3, S and X cars, while Mercedes Benz sold 66,542 vehicles (excluding commercial vans) in the U.S.

The 45-year-old Murdoch is a friend of the Tesla founder and boss and has been on the company's board since last year.

The deadline for the replacement is mid-November, but can be extended at the request of Musk.

  • David Armstrong