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Tesla Motors scored over $2 billion by selling its stock on May 18 in a public offering without disclosing the news of a fatal crash, which the company and founder knew about at the time, according to a report from Fortune.
Legendary journalist Carol Loomis of Fortune highlighted that Tesla didn't publicly disclose the news of the crash, which initially occurred May 7, until Jun. 30—almost eight weeks after the accident. Tesla's public offering happened 11 days after the crash.
Fortune said they reached out to Tesla on July 4 for comment. A Tesla spokesperson told Fortune that Friday's stock rally proved that the crash news was not a material fact for shareholders.
The Fortune report then gave a little back-and-forth between the famous journalist and the outspoken CEO.
Then Elon Musk himself suddenly entered the email conversation. He first thought, mistakenly, that Fortune was criticizing the price at which Tesla and he had sold stock. This writer replied that was not the case and that the issue was the non-disclosure of a material fact. That, Musk replied in a second e-mail, "is not material to the value of Tesla."
According to Fortune, Musk added: "Indeed, if anyone bothered to do the math...they would realize that of the over 1M auto deaths per year worldwide, approximately half a million people would have been saved if the Tesla autopilot was universally available."
Loomis retired in 2014 after a 60-year career at Fortune magazine. She is the editor of Warren Buffett's annual letter to shareholders.
U.S. regulators are currently looking into the autopilot function in Tesla's Model S cars, and this examination could lead to recalling vehicles if they are declared unsafe.
There was an initial dip in stock price after the news was announced that morning, but then it held steady and then climbed up to $216.50 at Friday's close.