Oracle founder Larry Ellison has emerged as the second biggest individual investor in Tesla with a holding worth US$1-billion in the electric car maker.
His stake was confirmed in a filing on Tuesday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The disclosure came after Ellison, a close friend of Tesla CEO Elon Musk and a fellow larger-than-life technology titan, became a director in December.
Ellison, 74, indirectly owns three million Tesla shares through the Lawrence J Ellison Revocable Trust, according to the filing. The 1.75% stake makes him the second largest disclosed individual shareholder after Musk, who owns about a fifth of the company. Tesla announced Ellison’s appointment to the board in December.
Ellison’s revelation comes as Tesla emerges from a rough patch. It’s now one of the most valuable car companies in the world, turning out more than 4 700 Model 3s each week after struggling a year ago to get just a few hundred off assembly lines. Musk also courted controversy in 2018, with the SEC ordering greater board oversight following the CEO’s claims in August of having funding and investor support for a buyout.
The SEC moved to punish Tesla and Musk because it alleged he committed fraud by tweeting that he had the “funding secured” to take the company private at $420/share. The agency said this and other claims the CEO made on 7 August were false and misleading and affected Tesla’s stock. Both he and the company agreed to pay $20-million penalties and added Ellison and human resources expert Kathleen Wilson-Thompson as directors.
Ellison is the world’s ninth richest person with a net worth of $51.4-billion on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His stake in Oracle is worth about $39-billion.
Ellison went off-script during an Oracle meeting with analysts in October to announce that he had been building a personal stake in Tesla and that it was his second largest holding. He criticised how the media had covered Musk, whom he lauded for “landing rockets” and called a close friend. — Reported by Tom Metcalf, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP