We’re gonna have to talk about Nikola for the second day in a row because after delivering its first electric semi trucks, the Arizona-based EV manufacturer is moving on, putting past legal issues behind it with a $125mln settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
It’s a well-known story but let’s do a quick recap. Nikola came from nowhere and became too big too quickly. It went public ($NKLA) with a SPAC merger and the then CEO Trevor Milton made a lot of noise with some pretty bold claims, causing Nikola’s stock to go through the roof. An investigation was launched, revealing that Milton’s claim were unsubstantiated and, as we later discovered, fraudalent, deliberately designed to spike stock prices.
He left the company and was indicted and Nikola, the company, distanced itself from the former CEO, essentially saying “whatever he may or may not have done, it’s on him, and no one else knew”. It appears that the SEC is now more or less corroborating that theory, partly because Nikola has always cooperated with the authorities and partly because they evidently found out that yes, it was mostly him and not the company.
Nikola has not admitted to any wrongdoing in the SEC’s findings and the $125 million settlement will be paid in five installments through 2023.
My 2 cents? Nikola’s biggest crime? They wanted to call their first truck…. BADGER. Gah. There’s no redemption for that.
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