Nikola Shaky as Backer Hints at Pulling out

Shares of electric vehicle start-up Nikola Corp. (NASDAQ:NKLA) fell by more than 8% in after-hours trading after CEO Mark Russell failed to reassure investors that the company’s $2-billion deal with General Motors (NYSE:GM) would still go through and that ousted founder Trevor Milton wouldn’t suddenly sell off his shares.

During an interview, Russell said discussions with GM about supplying fuel cell and battery technologies as well as an all-electric pickup are ongoing, but he wouldn’t comment much further than that.

"Both of those things are interesting to us," he said regarding GM’s technologies. "We continue to talk to them about those things." If a deal isn’t finalized by Dec. 3, either side can walk away.

Russell also declined to speculate about what Milton, who stepped down as chairman in September, plans to do with the 91.6 million shares he owns after a lock-up period that prevented him from cashing in his equity ends Dec. 1.

That includes six million shares in "founder options" he gave to the early employees, leaving him with 85.6 million shares. There are roughly 360.9 million shares of company stock outstanding, making Milton Nikola’s largest single shareholder.

All of those shares will be eligible to sell next week, according to the company.

Owners of 136.5 million shares of Nikola agreed to extend their lock-up until April 31, including 39.8 million shares held by a separate company controlled by Russell but owned by Milton called T&M Residual.

NKLA shares opened Wednesday down $3.73, or 10.8%, to $30.77, while those for GM ditched $1.20, or 2.6%, to $45.25.