Elon Musk: Meeting with Saudis prompted plan to take Tesla private


Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Monday he was in discussions with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund and other potential backers of his plan to take the electric car-maker private, but said financing was not yet nailed down.

Saudi Arabia is exploring how it could bankroll Elon Musk's ambitious plan to take Tesla private, as burnt short-sellers sue the electric vehicle entrepreneur over his bombshell tweet last week.

Musk added that the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund "has approached me multiple times" starting in early 2017 about taking Tesla private.

Musk in his blog elucidated his reasons of making a public announcement.

Musk wrote that he made the August 7 announcement because he had talked to large investors about his desire to take the company private. "However, it wouldn't be right to share information about going private with just our largest investors without sharing the same information with all investors at the same time", Musk wrote.

Bloomberg reported on Sunday that PIF is in talks that could see it become a significant investor in Tesla as part of the take-private plan but has made no firm decision, citing people with knowledge of the fund's plans. The fund itself has not publicly commented on the possibility of a deal. The country's Public Investment Fund, which has built up a stake of nearly 5 per cent in Tesla in recent months, is exploring how it can be involved in the potential deal, according to Bloomberg. The timeline begins on August 2, when Musk told the board that he wanted to take Tesla private. Musk said he has continued to communicate with the sovereign fund's managing director since last week, and that the managing director has "expressed support for proceeding subject to financial and other due diligence". The post lays to rest a mystery that has bedeviled Wall Street and the news media since Musk tweeted last Tuesday that he had "funding secured" for a buyout. Once those discussions are complete, Musk will bring a proposal to Tesla's board.

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However, a source who is familiar with PIF's strategy said it was not now getting involved in any funding process for Tesla's take-private deal.

At least two investors have sued Musk and Tesla alleging share-price manipulation.

Therefore, reports that more than $70B would be needed to take Tesla private dramatically overstate the actual capital raise needed.

Elon Musk stunned investors last week with his tweet.

Musk's failure to promptly file a formal disclosure has led to lawsuits from investors, accusing Tesla of fraudulently planning to squeeze short-sellers.

"If the board process results in an approved plan, any required regulatory approvals will need to be obtained and the plan will be presented to Tesla shareholders for a vote".