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Trevor Milton Wins $ 49 Million in Sale of 3.5 Million Nikola Shares

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Former Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ: NKLA) Executive Chairman and Founder Trevor Milton pocketed roughly $ 49 million sale of 3.5 million shares in the electric truck company start-up last week.

Milton is the subject of federal investigations into alleged fraud allegations by a short seller that drove the company’s stock price to the crater last fall. It is trading among teens from a high of over $ 90 a share after its public debut in June 2020.

With around 20.1% of the shares outstanding, Milton remains the largest shareholder in the company. Based on Thursday’s closing price of $ 13.91, his stake is worth just under $ 1.1 billion. Milton was listed as one of the 12 youngest billionaires on the Forbes 400 list last September. At the time, his personal value was $ 3.3 billion.

The sale of Miltons and South Korean solar panel maker Hanwha’s intention to sell half of its 22.1 million shares comes as Nikola plans to sell new shares. The new offering over the next 12-18 months would likely dilute the company’s current 391.5 million shares.

Trying to move on

Nikola tries to overcome the flamboyant leadership of the Miltons. The company acknowledges that Milton made inaccurate claims about Nikola’s technological prowess and achievements. Milton resigned last September after a Hindenburg Research report claimed that Nikola was an ocean of lies.

Milton has been in seclusion since his resignation. Fallout’s report ended a partnership with General Motors (NYSE: GM). The automaker planned to take an 11% stake in Nikola and manufacture its Badger electric van.

He has not spoken publicly since his departure. The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are investigating Milton and other Nikola executives. No civil or criminal charges have been laid.

Nikola has so far spent more than $ 27 million defending himself and Milton, according to his latest quarterly filing with the SEC. In the file, Nikola highlighted nine statements by Milton that an internal investigation found to be inaccurate in whole or in part.

We hope that by putting it out in plain language people can put it back in its place and we can move on, CEO Mark Russell said in a recent interview with FreightWaves.

Refocused priorities

Nikola is refocusing on specific timelines for battery electric trucks, fuel cell electric trucks and cost-effective hydrogen production. Nikola dropped the Badger from his plans after the deal with GM broke. It could still buy GM Hydrotec fuel cells in the future.

Nikola took on a financial charge to shut down his nascent powersports business which included battery-electric all-terrain vehicles and personal watercraft. It is open to the elimination of a military version of its four-seater all-terrain vehicle.

These things are no longer distractions for us, Russell said. They have never been a priority.

Second major partner cuts stake as Nikola plans to sell $ 100m in new shares

News analysis: Nikola Hindenburg Research tormentor opens fire on Lordstown Motors

No partners, no problem: Nikola can do hydrogen stations solo

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.



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