Legal

Shark Tank’s Mark Cuban helped convince Elon Musk to settle with the SEC

Matthew Elmas /

Embattled entrepreneur Elon Musk has had a pretty tumultuous few months.

In September the eccentric billionaire agreed to fork out $US20 million to the SEC, the American corporate regulator, and also step down as the chair of Tesla over an August tweet where he falsely claimed he had secured funding to take the company private.

But the deal, which made news around the world, almost didn’t happen.

Musk has been a strident critic of the SEC, having called the regulator the “short seller enrichment commission”, so it’s not surprising he was preparing to reject the settlement.

That was before Mark Cuban gave him a call.

You read that right, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and one of the sharks on the American version of Shark Tank apparently swims in the same circles as Musk and saw fit to give him some advice, billionaire-to-billionaire.

Cuban has his own lived experience with the SEC, having successfully fought off an insider trading charge a decade ago.

The case took its toll though, lasting five years.

Cuban confirmed the phone call to the Wall Street Journal, revealing he told Musk what to expect if he went into battle with the regulator.

“I explained where the SEC used questionable practices in my case, and how he could expect the same,” Cuban said.

The connection between the two is one of Musk’s lawyers, Chris Clark, who represented Cuban in his dispute with the SEC.

Cuban told Musk a fight would drag him away from his companies, according to the Wall Street Journal, implying many others don’t get the same opportunity to settle.

“I asked him if he could name five people who had settled with the SEC, knowing he wouldn’t be able to name any,” Cuban said.

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Matthew Elmas

Matthew is the news editor at SmartCompany.

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