Elon Musk frequently takes great joy in proving his critics wrong. During a deposition related to a class-action shareholder lawsuit, however, he admitted the critics were right about Tesla's 2016 purchase of a solar-panel company run by his cousins.
The Tesla CEO at the time defended the $2.9 billion acquisition of SolarCity, saying it was "blindingly obvious" and a "no-brainer." But during a June deposition related to the lawsuit, Musk sang a very different tune, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
"At the time I thought it made strategic sense for Tesla and SolarCity to combine. Hindsight is 20-20," Musk said at the deposition. "If I could wind back the clock, you know, I would say [I] probably would have let SolarCity execute by itself."
Court filings unsealed this fall showed that Jason Wheeler, Tesla's CFO at the time, raised concerns over the acquisition.
The filings also show conflicts of interests in the purchase, as Musk's cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive ran SolarCity. Six out of seven Tesla board directors, including Musk's brother, Kimbal, were associates of Musk who had SolarCity ties, the report said.
Analysts have called the deal a catastrophe for saddling Tesla with SolarCity's crippling debt, and plunging sales by Tesla's solar division have resulted in big layoffs.