SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk speaks after announcing Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa as the first private passenger on a trip around the moon in Hawthorne, Calif. on Sept. 17, 2018.
Chris Carlson/AP/REX/Shutterstock
September 28, 2018 10:59 AM EDT

(Bloomberg) — The prospect that Elon Musk could lose his job as Tesla Inc. CEO over tweets may cost the carkmaker’s shareholders close to $20 billion.

Tesla plunged as much as 14 percent in early trading Friday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged that Musk committed fraud by tweeting last month that he’d secured funding to take the company private. The regulator is seeking to bar Musk from serving as an officer or director of a public company.

At $268.10 — the stock’s lowest price in the first few minutes of regular trading Friday — Tesla had a market capitalization of about $45.7 billion, down from $64.8 billion at the close of trading on Aug. 7, the day Musk sent his take-private tweets.

Read More on Musk Musk’s SEC Woes May Erase Half of Tesla’s Value, Barclays Says Suit Could Rob Tesla of Most-Valuable U.S. Carmaker Crown Tesla Board Backs Musk as SEC Sues, Seeks Ouster Over Tweets SEC Case Is ‘Early Christmas’ for Investor Suits Over Musk Tweet

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