Saudi Fund Express Support For Taking Tesla Private: Elon Musk

13 August, 2018, 18:22 | Author: Teresa Adams
  • Open source

Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund is in talks that could see it becoming a significant investor in Tesla as part of Musk's plan to take the company private, people with knowledge of the fund's plans said earlier Sunday.

Discussions began before the controversial August 7 tweet by Musk, who is Tesla's co-founder and chief executive officer, saying he was weighing a plan to take the company private.

The fund approached Musk about going private multiple times during the past two years, and Musk says he left a July 31 meeting with no question that the deal would be closed.

Musk defended his privatization announcement via the aforementioned tweets and email as "the right thing to do" in the interest of public disclosure.

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Shares of Tesla are now up 13% this year, but still below their $362 price at the time of Musk's first tweet about going private around 1 p.m. Tuesday. To be clear, when I made the public announcement, just as with this blog post and all other discussions I have had on this topic, I am speaking for myself as a potential bidder for Tesla.

The tweets are aimed at "shorts", or investors who borrowed shares of Tesla and immediately sold them with the hope that Tesla's share price would fall.

Musk has not offered evidence that he has lined up the necessary funding to take Tesla private, and the complaints did not offer proof to the contrary.

The sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia is exploring a way to be a part of taking Tesla private, a Bloomberg report states.

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Musk also wrote that the Saudis are interested in the company because they want to diversify away from oil. "I understood from him that no other decision makers were needed and that they were eager to proceed", Musk wrote in the blog. He also said that by taking the electric vehicle company private it would end "negative propaganda from shorts".

The revelation comes days after Musk's claim in an August 7 Twitter post that financing for a deal to take Tesla private had been "secured".

The transaction would be structured with equity so as not to burden Tesla with crushing debt, Musk added. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is examining whether the tweet was meant to be factual, according to a person familiar with the matter, and at least two investors have sued Musk and Tesla alleging share-price manipulation.

What are the next steps? While the entrepreneur owns 20 percent of Tesla, more than $60 billion would be needed to buy the business from public shareholders. 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.

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