Nikola nosedived as much as 18% on Friday as investors continued to flee following the release of a scathing short-seller report.
The Friday slump extends losses made on Thursday after Hindenburg Research alleged the electric vehicle company and its CEO, Trevor Milton, overhyped its truck’s capabilities.
The firm, which has a short position in Nikola, also accused Nikola of filling its multibillion-dollar order book “with fluff.”
Hindenburg who has been accused of manipulating the market to profit from falling prices made its report and subsequent responses days after General Motors struck a deal with Nikola.
The partnership, which includes GM taking an 11% stake in the smaller firm, boosted Nikola shares earlier in the week, dealing a big blow to those with a short position on the stock.
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On Friday morning, Citron Research backed up the claims and congratulated Hindenburg in a tweet for “exposing what appears to be a total fraud with NKLA.”
Nikola CEO Milton fired back at the allegations on Friday, in a tweet saying that Hindenburg “wanted max damage, it didn’t work. Now back to growth.”
Nikola said in a press release that Hindenburg’s motivation was “to manipulate the market and profit from a manufactured decline in our stock price.” Nikola retained outside counsel Kirkland & Ellis for possible legal recourse and authorized them to work with the Securities and Exchange Commission in rebutting the report.
Nikola said it “intends to bring the actions of the activist short-seller, together with evidence and documentation, to the attention of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.”
“To be clear, this was not a research report and it is not accurate. This was a hit job for short sale profit driven by greed,” the company said.
Citron pledged to cover half of Hindenburg’s legal expenses associated with a potential lawsuit.
Hindenburg said in its report it suspects Tesla’s lead in the electric vehicle sector pressured GM to make the investment. The research firm added that several of Nikola’s partners and investors “have been cashing out aggressively” through the year as its shares surge on strong investor demand.
Nikola traded at $31.92 as of 10:45 a.m. ET Friday.
About Nikola Corporation
Nikola Corporation is globally transforming the transportation industry. As a designer and manufacturer of zero-emission battery-electric and hydrogen-electric vehicles, electric vehicle drivetrains, vehicle components, energy storage systems, and hydrogen station infrastructure, Nikola is driven to revolutionize the economic and environmental impact of commerce as we know it today. Founded in 2015, Nikola Corporation is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.