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Saudi Arabia eyes enlarged stake in Musk’s private Tesla

13 August, 2018, 19:10 | Author: Lawrence Cooper
  • Is Elon Musk taking Tesla private

Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund is in talks that could see it becoming a significant investor in Tesla as part of Elon Musk's plan to take the electric vehicle maker private, according to people with knowledge of the fund's plans.

While explaining the logic of taking Tesla private, Musk had stated in a blog post: "As the most shorted stock in the history of the stock market, being public means that there are large numbers of people who have the incentive to attack the company".

Musk also wrote that Saudi Arabia had approached him "multiple times" over the past two years expressing interest to fund taking Tesla private.

In one of the lawsuits, the plaintiff Kalman Isaacs said Musk's tweets were false and misleading, and together with Tesla's failure to correct them amounted to a "nuclear attack" created to "completely decimate" short-sellers.

I left the July 31st meeting with no question that a deal with the Saudi sovereign fund could be closed, and that it was just a matter of getting the process moving. The most recent meeting took place on July 31, after the Saudi fund had accumulated a minority stake of about 5 percent. The lawsuits also claim Musk hasn't lined up the financing necessary to take Tesla private and therefore made false statements. Musk wrote that since August 7, the fund's managing director has expressed support subject to due diligence. Musk wrote that he expects about one-third of shareholders to take an offer of $420 per share, making the buyouts worth roughly $23.6 billion.

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The SEC has asked Tesla if Musk had facts to back up his claim on Twitter that funding is "secured", people familiar with the regulator's inquiry told the Wall Street Journal last week.

He added that most capital for the deal would come from equity and it would not be "wise" to burden the company with added debt.

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

Elon Musk stunned investors last week with his tweet.

"When you have these grand-vision companies, the founders - these leaders - don't want to have some investors have control", Gene Munster, a managing partner at venture capital firm Loup Ventures said in a Bloomberg TV interview, talking about the idea that Musk wouldn't want to bring in any large new shareholders. I will now continue to talk with investors, and I have engaged advisors to investigate a range of potential structures and options. If approved, the proposal would then seek regulatory approvals before undergoing a vote of Tesla shareholders.

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