Four lawsuits challenge Tesla-Solar City merger
September 19 2016 06:37 PM
Tesla-Solar City merger
Tesla-Solar City merger

AFP/New York

Luxury electric car maker Tesla reported Monday that four lawsuits have been lodged seeking to block its merger with troubled solar panel installer Solar City.

In its formal proposal to shareholders on the controversial merger, Tesla said that in the first half of September the four suits were filed in Delaware court, two by individual shareholders and the other two by pension funds representing public employees in Riviera Beach, California and in Arkansas.

The litigation ‘could result in an injunction preventing the completion of the merger or a judgment resulting in the payment of damages,’ Tesla said.

In June, Tesla Motors and Solar City Corp. proposed a merger that Tesla says will expand the attractiveness of its car sales by, together with its upcoming large battery factory, creating a whole solution for car owners wanting a home solar system that supports both their car and household energy needs.

‘Tesla and SolarCity both believe that this is an opportune time to combine in order to operate more efficiently and fully integrate our products, while providing customers with an aesthetically beautiful and simple one-stop solar and energy storage experience,’ the shareholders proposal issued Monday said.

But critics say the merger is in effect a bailout of a debt-laden solar panel installer whose chairman, Elon Musk, is also the founder and main shareholder of Tesla.

They argue that Tesla itself has steadily lost money and that the burden of taking on Solar City's debts will not be offset by any possible marketing synergies.

Boards of both companies have agreed to the merger and are planning a general shareholders meeting to vote on it.

Musk, who holds 21.1 percent of Tesla and 22.5 percent of SolarCity, will not be able to vote as a shareholder on the deal.

However, one of the lawsuits filed has asked the court for a preliminary injunction to block a vote before the suits can be heard. In response, the Delaware court scheduled an initial hearing for October 18 on the issue, according to the Tesla shareholders proposal.

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