Nikola Corp. CEO Trevor Milton signaled his confidence in the company by purchasing shares amid reports the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into the electric truck maker.
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Milton bought 41,400 shares on Sept. 14, raising his stake to 91.6 million shares, or about 25% of the company. With a net worth of $3.2 billion, according to Forbes, all of his wealth is tied to the company.
Milton’s net worth has been shrinking as of late as shares were under pressure Tuesday after Bloomberg reported the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission opened an investigation into Nikola less than a week after short-seller Hindenburg Research accused the company of misleading partners about its technology. Nikola has called the accusations “false and deceptive.”
The SEC declined to comment.
Milton’s wealth had decreased by 16% in the three trading sessions since Hindenburg released a report ahead of Thursday’s opening bell, and have fallen below the $35.55 level where they closed before Nikola announced its partnership with General Motors Co.
Nikola and General Motors on Sept. 8 announced a partnership to build the former’s Badger electric truck. The deal gives GM a $2 billion stake, or 11% of Nikola, in exchange for its help in building the vehicle.
GM CEO Mary Barra defended her company’s decision to enter the partnership, telling the RBC Capital Markets Global Industrials Virtual Conference on Monday that her company performed the “appropriate diligence” before signing the deal.
Nikola shares were up 6.23% from the $33.69 where they opened for trading in their June 3 Nasdaq debut.