Nikola Corporation NKLA founder Trevor Milton has quietly purchased shares of the Phoenix-based electric vehicle company ahead of his September fraud trial.
What Happened: Milton, who was indicted on fraud charges in July 2021, resigned as CEO amid allegations that he made false assertions about NIkola's technology. According to Benzinga’s Insider Trades page, Milton subsequently sold large portions of his Nikola shares, including:
- More than $16 million in August 2021
- $11.7 million worth in November 2021 and
- $3.3 million in December 2021.
On Thursday, a SEC filing revealed that Milton purchased three million shares of Nikola at an average price point of $5.80 for $17.4 million.
The purchase marked the first purchase from Milton since the company went public in June 2020.
Why It’s Important: After the purchase was made, Milton now owns a 10% stake in the company, more than 51 million shares of Nikola, while his spouse owns an additional 1.25 million shares.
Milton's purchase comes weeks after the company announced that its current CEO, Mark Russell, will retire. Nikola president and former Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller, who joined the company in February 2022, is set to replace Russell.
Nikola also announced in August that it was buying battery company Romeo Power RMO.
Nikola reported second-quarter financial results in August with revenue of $18.13 million beating Street estimates. The company announced it delivered 48 Tre BEVs in the quarter and remains on track to deliver 300 to 500 Tre BEVs in 2022.
Milton’s fraud trial was set to begin in July after being delayed by a judge to Sep. 12, 2022. Nikola told a judge that a subpoena from Milton was a “fishing expedition,” according to a report from Reuters.
Milton has pleaded not guilty to the indictment and charges of securities fraud and wire fraud related to accusations of misleading investors.
NKLA Price Action: Nikola shares are up 3% to $6.13 on Thursday versus a 52-week range of $4.41 to $11.87.
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