Nikola founder Trevor Milton plans to remain the automaker's largest shareholder despite being free to sell stock, report says

REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
  • Nikola founder Trevor Milton plans to remain the top shareholder in the automaker despite the company’s stock lockup period expiring on November 30, Bloomberg reported.
  • Milton stepped down from his role as chairman in September after allegations of fraud, but his 33% stake in Nikola is the largest among any other investor in the firm.
  • Before Milton’s voluntary resignation, he sold 3.2 million Nikola shares as part of three real-estate deals.
  • One deal involved a purchase of a $US32 million ranch in Utah, Bloomberg said, citing a source.
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Trevor Milton plans to remain Nikola’s largest shareholder even though restrictions on insider stock sales expired last month,Bloomberg reported Monday.

Milton resigned as chairman in September over allegations of fraud and deceptive statements related to the company’s success. But the founder remains positive of Nikola’s eventual success, Bloomberg said, citing an email from Milton’s spokesperson.

Milton’s 33% stake, or 91.6 million shares in the company, was worth $US1.7 billion based on Monday’s closing price. His position is the largest among any Nikola investor.

A spokesperson for the Nikola founder told Business Insider “Trevor Milton continues to believe in Nikola and its transformational technology. He remains confident in the company’s long-term success and is committed to maintaining his position as Nikola’s largest shareholder.”

Nikola’s share lockup period expired on November 30, permitting insiders to sell any shares they hold in the company. Current CEO Mark Russell, who owns shares directly and via a joint entity with Milton, and other strategic shareholders recently decided to extend the lock-up period, according to Bloomberg.

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News of Milton’s plans to remain Nikola’s biggest stockholder follows the revelation that he sold 3.2 million Nikola shares to help finance three real-estate deals before his resignation.

As part of the transactions, Milton’s own private firm presented the shares to three separate property sellers on December 3. One deal involved Milton’s purchase of a $US32 million ranch in Utah, Bloomberg said, citing a source. That specific tranche of stock was valued at $US56 million, representing 2% of his holdings in Nikola.

A spokeswoman told Bloomberg the real-estate transactions did not involve “Nikola-related” property.

Milton hasn’t sold any of his current holdings. The real-estate share transactions were settled in May before Nikola went public via a SPAC merger with VectoIQ.

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