Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud, according to court documents filed Thursday. Sources close to the company told CNBC the company was also expecting to be sued, though Tesla was not named as a defendant in the complaint.
Musk later explained that he had been in discussions with the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund and felt confident the funding would come through at his proposed price of $420 per share. Musk said in an interview with The New York Times that he calculated that take-private price by rounding $1 up from what would have been a 20 percent upside at the time.
“According to Musk, he calculated the $420 price per share based on a 20% premium over that day’s closing share price because he thought 20% was a ‘standard premium’ in going-private transaction,” the SEC alleged in its suit. “This calculation resulted in a price of $419, and Musk stated that he rounded the price up to $420 because he had recently learned about the number’s significance in marijuana culture and thought his girlfriend ‘would find it funny, which admittedly is not a great reason to pick a price.'”
Tesla’s board of directors initially formed a special committee to evaluate the take-private proposal, but Musk ultimately called off the privatization plans on Aug. 24.
Tesla did not immediately respond to request for comment.
The food and drink industry will take a £9.3bn hit from a no-deal Brexit, with much of the additional cost being passed on to consumers, a study suggests.
Barclays calculates that retailers will face a massive 27 per cent tariff on average for food and drink products imported from the EU, making it one of the worst-affected sectors. Tariffs for non-food products are in line for an average rise of between 3 and 4 per cent.
Every consignment of goods from the EU will also require a customs declaration which costs a minimum of £50.
The UK imported £48bn of food and drink last year, about 40 per cent of the total amount sold.
Fully processed food and drink products, such as orange juice, will be hit with the highest tariff rate of 31 per cent compared to 29.5 per cent for semi-processed food and drink such as white sugar. Unprocessed goods will face a 9.7 per cent tariff.
Some products will also attract “specific duties” which are levied by weight or volume. These charges place a higher burden on lower-value transactions and will disproportionately add to the cost of products like meat, cereal, olive oil and wine, Barclays said.
Frozen beef has a specific duty of three times the cost of the product itself while beef cuts face a 101 per cent tariff. Cream and garlic both attract high specific duties of 81 per cent and 71 per cent respectively.
Health and safety compliance measures will add further costs that could amount to the equivalent of paying an extra 8 per cent in duty tax on EU food and drink imports, the research found.
Ian Gilmartin, head of retail at Barclays Corporate Banking, said food and drink is one of the UK’s most important sectors, employing millions of people.
“Some products would avoid tariffs, even in a no-deal scenario, but for most goods the effect of an increased tariff burden would be extremely damaging, and cheaper goods would be the hardest hit,” he said.
He pointed out that 71 per cent of our imported food and drink comes from the EU, and 60 per cent of our exports go to the EU.
“A positive agreement on trade is essential if we are to protect UK exporters and avoid significant price rises for UK consumers,” he added.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel says he still has “a fair chance” of catching Lewis Hamilton in their title battle.
Vettel is 40 points behind Hamilton, who has taken three wins in the past four races, sometimes against the run of form.
Vettel said: “We have had races we should have won but didn’t and others we won and shouldn’t have.
“Anything is possible. I’m not aiming to win all six races. I’m aiming to win here and then we go to the next one.”
Vettel’s fate is still in his own hands – if the German wins every race before the end of the season, he will win the title, regardless of Hamilton’s results.
He said: “It is very simple from where we are. We are some points behind and we need to catch up to make sure we stay there.
“The best way to do that is to finish ahead and ideally ahead of everybody. The plan doesn’t change. Obviously at this point we try to give it everything we have and I still believe we have a chance.”
Ferrari have had the fastest car for much of the season but Vettel admitted the team had not met their own expectations in recent races and needed to up their game.
“We expect to be competitive,” he said, “but we have to take into account the last couple of races where we struggled to have the race pace and put it together for different reasons, so we need to not get distracted by the results and focus on the job we have to do.”
Hamilton denied that he already had one hand on the title.
“I don’t think you ever have one hand on it,” he said. “You either have both hands on it or you don’t.
“There is still a long way to go, a lot of points available, six races is still a lot of races.
“We’re just head down and everyone is working hard to improve the car. The job is still exactly the same and the approach is still exactly the same.”
Red Bull to start at the back
The race, held on a track that circulates around the Olympic Park in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, is set to be between only Mercedes and Ferrari.
The other top team, Red Bull, will have both cars at the back of the grid as a result of new engines being fitted.
Both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo have already exceeded the permitted number of engine parts this season so taking new engines, which are required to make it to the end of the season, means an automatic drop to the back.
Verstappen said that the engines fitted for this weekend were the less powerful Renault B-spec units, rather than the C-spec they used at the last race in Singapore.
“Our C-spec cannot run in high altitude at Mexico and Brazil,” the Dutchman said. “We always knew we had to take another B at one point, and this is the best place to do it, also to have some more spare parts in case something breaks.
“The C spec has a bit more power in qualifying but it is the same or maybe a bit slower in the race but it is all about qualifying and you would always go for an extra 0.1-0.15secs if you can.”
The Red Bull junior team, Toro Rosso, will also be at the back as Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley will both have upgraded Honda engines in their cars.
Ocon’s hopes resting on Williams
Force India driver Esteban Ocon says his last hope of a race seat for next season rests with Williams, the only team with a realistic vacancy.
The Frenchman is to lose his seat at Force India to Lance Stroll, who is moving from Williams because his father Lawrence heads the consortium that saved the team from administration over the summer.
Ocon admitted Mercedes, who own his contract, were in talks with Williams.
However, the most likely scenario is that Ocon takes a year out, ahead of a possible promotion to Mercedes as Hamilton’s team-mate in 2020, if the team decide not to keep Valtteri Bottas.
“It could be an option to be on the bench next year,” he said. “But even if that is the case, I will be back in 2020, and I will be back stronger and prepared.”
Meanwhile, the Russian company Uralkali says it is taking legal action against the administrators of Force India, claiming they rejected a higher offer from the fertiliser manufacturer when they agreed to allow Stroll’s consortium to take over the team.
The key figure behind Uralkali is Russian businessman Dmitry Mazepin, whose son races in he junior category GP3.
A spokesman for Uralkali told BBC Sport the company intended to pursue its interest in buying an F1 team, regardless of the outcome of its legal action.
A spokesman for administrators FRP said that, having seen the claim, they were “confident it will be dismissed at the earliest opportunity”.
How to follow on BBC Sport
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Ownership of another of Australia’s most famous brands is set to change hands with the company behind Driza-Bone oilskin coats and clothing products up for sale as it searches for a strategic investor with deeper pockets to spearhead expansion into the US.
Driza-Bone, with a history stretching back to 1898, has been through a rollercoaster ride in the past three decades and in 2017 was merged with rural clothing company RB Sellars, founded by businessman Richard Sellars-Jones, with the broader group now generating about half of its total sales online.
Mr Sellars-Jones and his co-owner, a Melbourne family office, are now kick-starting a sale process for the broader Propel Group that controls both operations. It is likely to result in a new majority owner as the business prepares to tackle the US market with a comprehensive e-commerce offering aiming to take advantage of the appeal of Australian outback brands. Cashed-up private equity firms are among those likely to closely examine the assets, which have annual revenues approaching $50 million.
A string of famous Australian brands including R.M. Williams, Vegemite and Arnott’s biscuits have either undergone ownership changes or are in the process of doing so, with Driza-Bone now joining them.
Keith Evans, the chief executive of Propel Group, the parent company of Driza-Bone and RB Sellars, said the US was the major priority for the Driza-Bone brand, with an e-commerce platform ready to launch in October. “I think the US offers a huge potential for us. That’s where I would place my bets for sure,” Mr Evans told The Australian Financial Review in an exclusive interview.
The company generates 51 per cent of sales online. Total sales rose 39 per cent in 2017-18 and after a robust first quarter in 2018-19 are in good shape to reach budgeted growth of 26 per cent for 2018-19.
A step-up in investment in the brand and injecting some online zip has paid dividends. “Giving it some love and attention has really, really worked,” Mr Evans said.
The company expects strong interest from private equity firms and trade buyers. Mr Sellars-Jones, who founded the RB Sellars quality outback clothing business in 1996, said it would be a plus if it could stay in Australian hands, but he is taking a practical approach. “Obviously local would be more desirable but the likelihood would be remote,” Mr Sellars-Jones said. He too, believes the US offers a big opportunity.
“I think the Americans are intrigued by the Australian outback,” he said. Mr Sellars-Jones said he would assess all options. “We’re open to negotiations. We’ll see what comes along”.
There are nine RB Sellars bricks and mortar retail stores in Australia, and Mr Evans said there were near-term plans for a further 10. “We’ve got 10 more stores on the hit list in Australia alone,” Mr Evans said.
But the main focus was on accelerating online sales. The business already has 85,000 active online customers and its repeat business rate is strong. One-third of new customers make a purchase the following year.
“Clicks are much more important than bricks,” Mr Evans said.
He said the China market was a longer-term focus. Mr Sellars-Jones said there is solid upside in the New Zealand market also. Britain is also part of the strategy but there are short-term uncertainties because of the issues surrounding Brexit.
Mr Sellars-Jones said the business had steered well clear of discounting, and there had been some frustrations in rivals doing copycat products with inferior raw materials.
“We’re not interested in the fast fashion industry,” Mr Sellars-Jones said. That was a race to the bottom, he said. “We’re maintaining our prices. We’re not involved in discounting”.
Driza-Bone was acquired by the British motorcycle clothing company Belstaff in the late 1980s but then went through more ownership changes before the Lempriere family, which has strong interests in the wool industry, bought it more than a decade ago.
Lempriere Capital Partners is overseeing the mooted deal.
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Monday, April 23, 2018.
Thursday’s gains come as investors digest the Federal Reserve’s latest decision on monetary policy. The central bank raised rates by 25 basis points on Wednesday, its third rate hike of the year. The Fed also removed the word “accommodative” from its policy statement.
“What this tells us is they will continue to gradually raise rates as they’ve told us they would,” said Collin Martin, director of fixed income at the Schwab Center for Financial Research. “There was a lot of build-up to this meeting but we think it was much ado about nothing.”
Equities closed lower on Wednesday after the decision as a decline in Treasury yield dragged down bank shares.
Expectations for a rate hike in December also increased after the Fed’s announcement.
“I think this made it pretty clear we’ll probably get a fourth rate hike but we still have to look at trade talks and the midterms and see what happens,” said Simona Mocuta, senior economist at State Street Global Advisors.
Meanwhile, trade tensions between the U.S. and China continue to escalate. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump accused China of intending to interfere in November’s congressional elections. He added, without providing evidence, that Beijing didn’t want the Republican party to perform well. This prompted an immediate rejection from the Chinese government, which said it didn’t intrude on another country’s domestic matters.
Trump also criticized Canada for the slow pace of discussions concerning the overhaul of NAFTA. The president said he had recently vetoed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s invitation for a one-on-one meeting — a claim that prompted a spokesman of Trudeau’s government to state that no such meeting had been requested. Trump did agree, however, to start trade talks with Japan.
After months of delays, the first trailer for Dark Phoenix is finally here, and this is not the space saga we were expecting. That’s not to say that director-writer Simon Kinberg’s take on the famous X-Men story line isn’t going to space — it’s already been confirmed that a rescue mission in space triggers Jean Grey’s transformation into the Phoenix — but it seems like an odd choice to omit that from the first look at the anticipated superhero flick. After all, the Shi’ar are badass.
Starring Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner as the troubled mutant, Dark Phoenix takes place 10 years after the events of Apocalypse, and Jean’s telekinetic and telepathic powers are stronger than ever.
Similar to X-Men: The Last Stand, it looks like Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) has put some sort of mental block on Jean to suppress the horrible memory of her causing her parents’ deaths. “I had to keep her stable,” Charles admits. But when Jean ultimately uncovers the truth, she runs to Magneto (Michael Fassbender). “You’re always sorry, Charles,” Magneto says, “and there’s always a speech, and nobody cares.”
Now it’s Jean Grey versus the X-Men, and some mutants may be swapping sides. Beast (Nicholas Hoult) can be seen standing alongside Magneto in the trailer. And at least one X-Man isn’t making it to the final showdown, as several members can be seen attending a funeral. Jessica Chastain also appears as the film’s enigmatic villain, Smith, who looks to stokes the flames of Jean’s inner rage.
“She’s all rage, pain, and it’s all coming out at once.”
Angela Merkel said on Tuesday night a detailed version of Britain’s post-Brexit plans must be worked out in the next month – but there has been no sign of any progress since the prime minister’s humiliation in Salzburg last week.
Following her defiant televised address on Friday, the tone of Theresa May’s meetings with officials from the EU are said to have been “frosty”, just as the two sides need to thrash out an agreement.
In Brussels people privately speak of a genuine collapse in trust between the two sides, with each responding to an escalation by the other with their own escalation. Everyone is waiting to see how the Tory conference will pan out next week – will they even be negotiating with May by the end of the year?
On the eve of the Salzburg summit it looked like a deal on the Irish border might be closer; for months it had been the main sticking point. But just as compromise seemed close on Ireland, the future relationship issue has reared its head again and looks intractable.
To those in Brussels the UK’s moves in negotiations appear inexplicable, offering terms that have already been ruled out well in advance.
For a deal on the future relationship, the prime minister would have to back down completely and either ditch her red lines and go for a Norway-style, close relationship, or accept she’s only going to get a Canada-style free trade agreement. But she lacks political room for manoeuvre in Westminster and dug herself in even further on Tuesday, effectively ruling out the only offer on the table from the EU.
The EU does not really see this as a negotiation: one clued-up Brussels observer described the EU’s approach to me as Britain’s “managed capitulation”. It summarises the situation well: for progress to be made Ms May would have to accept that Chequers is dead – as everyone in Brussels already sees it.
But there seems to be no sign of that happening. The prime minister said it was unacceptable for the EU to reject her plan without offering a counter-offer, but the response in Brussels is simple: “Or what?”
The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.
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