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Elon Musk and Tesla have ‘outmaneuvered’ the SEC, says Jeff Sonnenfeld

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Elon Musk speaks at the International Astronautical Congress on September 29, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. Musk detailed the long-term technical challenges that need to be solved in order to support the creation of a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars.

Mark Brake | Getty Images

Elon Musk speaks at the International Astronautical Congress on September 29, 2017 in Adelaide, Australia. Musk detailed the long-term technical challenges that need to be solved in order to support the creation of a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars.

Tesla and CEO Elon Musk agreed in September to appoint a new chairman and two independent board members after the SEC accused Musk of misleading investors with a tweet about taking the company private at $420 a share.

Sonnenfeld called Ellison, the co-founder and executive chairman of Oracle, a “clone” of Musk.

“He’s a genius, knows technology, self-made guy and very articulate,” he said on “Closing Bell.”

“But he’s a pretty angry guy. Hair-trigger sensitivity to criticisms, loves to lash out at analysts,” he added.

In October, Ellison said he is “very close friends to Elon Musk” and has defended the CEO against ongoing criticism of his behavior. In addition to the take-private tweet, Musk appeared to smoke pot on a podcast in September.

Ellison is also a very big investor in Tesla. He owns 3 million shares of its stock, according to a company spokesperson.

Sonnenfeld said Musk “has brilliantly outmaneuvered” the SEC “by picking somebody who can really very effectively run cover for him, protect him. This is not a guy who is going to push for vetting the tweets.”

When asked for comment on Sonnenfeld’s remarks, a Tesla spokesperson referred to other analyst comments, like that of Wedbush Securities’ Dan Ives. On Friday, Ives called the appointments a “major step forward.”

Ellison “could help channel Musk’s energy and passion into positives going forward thus moving further away from the ‘going private tweetstorm’ from a few months ago, which continues to be a lingering overhang on the name,” Ives wrote in a note to clients.

Oracle did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla shares closed 5.6 percent higher on Friday.

— Imagala.com’s Sara Salinas and Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.

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