Nikola Motor and Executive Chairman Trevor Milton have responded to the Hindenburg Research report that accuses the automaker of being an “intricate fraud.”
Milton posted a statement to his official Twitter account on September 11th, indicating that the company has reached out to a law firm and plans to defend itself with attorneys. The Chairman also said that the report was a “hit job for short sale profit driven by greed,” in a statement.
“Nikola retained outside counsel Kirkland & Ellis LLP and authorized them to reach out directly to the SEC. The allegations are false and deceptive,” Milton tweeted. “On advice of counsel however, I won’t comment further now other than saying that we have involved SEC. It is in their hands and I have to let them run their process. I want you to see how I have addressed each point, but it will have to wait to be until the SEC finishes their work. Let’s be clear, Nikola approached the SEC, not the other way around. The author wanted emotion and we won’t give it to them.”
Hindenburg released a report around 8 A.M. on September 10th, titled “Nikola–How to Parlay an Ocean of Lies Into a Partnership with the Largest Auto OEM in America,” which claimed the company had been fraudulent in its statements. The title of the report is indicative of the company’s recently agreed upon partnership with General Motors, who decided to take charge of fuel cell and battery developments for Nikola’s vehicles.
The research group also stated that it had “gathered extensive evidence – including recorded phone calls, text messages, private emails, and behind-the-scenes photographs-detailing dozens of false statements by Nikola Founder Trevor Milton.” This included the claim that Nikola had units of the “Tre” rolling off of production lines in Ulm, Germany. Bosch, the company responsible for the production, stated that no vehicles had been manufactured.
Additionally, a road test of a Nikola vehicle was claimed to be misleading, according to the report. Hindenburg claims that the truck was towed and led down a low-grade hill, which made the vehicle appear to be operational.
Nikola’s full statement is available below:
“Yesterday, an activist short-seller whose motivation is to manipulate the market and profit from a manufactured decline in our stock price published a so-called “report” replete with misleading information and salacious accusations directed at our founder and executive chairman. To be clear, this was not a research report and it is not accurate. This was a hit job for short sale profit driven by greed.
We have nothing to hide and we will refute these allegations. They have already taken up more time and attention than they deserve. We have retained leading law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP to evaluate potential legal recourse, including with respect to the activist short seller and any others acting in concert.
Nikola also intends to bring the actions of the activist short-seller, together with evidence and documentation, to the attention of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
We respect the rights of investors and the integrity of the market and will be back to you after we have advanced the process with the SEC.
Most importantly, Nikola remains focused on delivering on the promises we’ve made to our stakeholders.”