At least 5 companies under Elon Musk’s control billed each other around $9 million in expenses

Tesla this week offered a slew of new information to investors ahead of its June annual shareholder meeting, including a rundown of various expenses that Elon Musk’s businesses billed each other.

Among the companies where he serves as an executive, director or major stockholder, the total amount incurred from one another came to $9.1 million going back to last year, according to regulatory filings. 

In 2023 and through February 2024: SpaceX paid Tesla $2.9 million; Tesla paid SpaceX $800,000; X paid Tesla $1.02 million; Tesla paid X $280,000; Tesla paid the Boring Company $1.2 million; and Tesla paid an unnamed security company owned by Musk $2.9 million. And round and round we go.

Details about the various expenses are scant. Musk’s security company billed Tesla $2.4 million in 2023 and another $500,000 through February 2024 for Musk’s own protection, which was only a portion of the total cost of his security expenses, the company said. Similarly, Tesla bought advertising on X, something Musk was always reluctant to do, and it cost $200,000 through February 2024. SpaceX invoiced Tesla $800,000 for the carmaker’s use of corporate aircraft owned by SpaceX, which it has done since 2016.

Tesla and X also incurred expenses for “certain commercial, consulting and support agreements,” that led the companies to invoice each other, the filings said. Musk has often moved executives around at his various companies as he looks to ramp up. After he bought the social network now known as X, for instance, he brought in executives with previous stints at the Boring Company, Tesla, Neuralink and artificial-intelligence startup xAI.

For a company of Tesla’s size—$460 billion in market cap, down from a more than a $1 trillion peak in 2021—the number of transactions involving companies associated with the CEO is unusual. For the most part, Tesla’s investors, which include a large share of individual retail stockholders, have always considered Musk to be a maverick worth following, according to the company.

But Tesla is in need of a turnaround. The stock price has dropped 40% year to date and the company will potentially disappoint investors further on April 23 when it announces first-quarter earnings. Then in June, the Tesla board will ask investors to reauthorize Musk’s stock options package, valued at $45 billion, at a time when the company has shed $700 billion in value. It even launched a website for investors in support of the endeavor.

Some of that positive investor sentiment may have begun to turn. A report last week from electric vehicle and sustainable energy publication Electrek revealed that Tesla’s largest retail investor and self-described “Elon Fanboy” Leo Koguan would oppose Musk’s pay package in the June shareholder vote. Koguan is also reported to be withholding support from two board members up for reelection: Musk’s brother Kimbal Musk and James Murdoch, son of the media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.

Koguan is the founder of private IT company SHI International, and according to the report, he’s invested $3.5 billion in Tesla. Yet Koguan couldn’t get a meeting with the board to discuss his concerns about Tesla operating in the realm of public companies when it looks much more like a family-owned private enterprise.  

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