Tesla co-founders settle nasty legal battle. Lovefest ensues
Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Martin Eberhard, two of the co-founders of the electric car startup, have kissed and made up in a mutual love-fest, ending a bitter legal battle over the company's origins.
Eberhard, a former Tesla CEO, had sued the company in May, charging Musk with defaming him and machinating to have him bounced from the company. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, and a Tesla spokesperson said "we are not disclosing details."
"I'm glad that we could put this behind us and direct all our energy toward making Tesla one of the great car companies of the 21st century," Musk said in a statement. "Industry-changing efforts are virtually impossible. Without Martin's indispensable efforts, Tesla Motors would not be here today."
Eberhard, who launched Tesla in 2003, had accused Musk of trying to "rewrite history" about his role in the founding of the company. Musk joined the company in 2004 as majority investor, after making hundreds of millions of dollars following the sale of PayPal, which he co-founded, to eBay for $1.5 billion in 2002.
The dispute's resolution lifts a nagging burden from Musk's shoulders as he works to build the company into a viable business. Last week, Tesla announced that it had raised a cool $82.5 million from a private investor group led by Fjord Capital Management.
That's in addition to more than $200 million in private venture capital from prestigious VC's like Draper Fisher Jurvetson, cash-rich companies like Google (GOOG) and the likes of JP Morgan Chase (JPM) as well as $50 million from Daimler (DAI), the German automaker that produces the Mercedes line.
Tesla has also received a $465-million taxpayer loan as part of the government's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, a $25-billion fund that aims to get fuel-efficient vehicles to customers faster.
The company said it now considers itself to have five founders: Eberhard, Musk, current chief technology JB Straubel, Marc Tarpenning, and Ian Wright.
"We can now focus on the most important issue: making electric vehicles successful, something we both are passionate about," said Eberhard, adding, "As a co-founder of the company, Elon's contributions to Tesla have been extraordinary."
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