Tesla (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Monday he was still in talks with potential backers of a possible buyout of the company, including Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, but had not completed securing the funding.
Musk published a blog post confirming a report that Saudi Arabia's Public Interest Fund would be the previously unknown party bankrolling the move to re-privatize the company - and revealing that his tweet last week claiming "funding secured" was merely an assumption on his part. In a blog post that further seeks to make the case that Tesla should go private, Musk attempted to address his critics who have attacked his tweet and questioned whether he may have engaged in stock manipulation or securities fraud.
The only way I could have meaningful discussions with our largest shareholders was to be completely forthcoming with them about my desire to take the company private.
In a letter to employees on Tuesday, Musk suggested a choice for shareholders of selling their shares for $420 each or remaining investors in a private Tesla.
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.
"I continue to have discussions with the Saudi fund, and I also am having discussions with a number of other investors, which is something that I always planned to do since I would like for Tesla to continue to have a broad investor base", Musk wrote.
Paul Scholes sends message to Man United fans about Jose Mourinho
Particularly as a manager, for irrespective of who has done it, you're going to be responsible. He's in the group of players who didn't have a pre season, it's as simple as that.
The transaction would be structured with equity so as not to burden Tesla with crushing debt, Musk added. Mr Musk did not prove he had the funds to finance the operation - despite tweeting "funding secured". It is appropriate to complete those discussions before presenting a detailed proposal to an independent board committee.
Therefore, reports that more than $70B would be needed to take Tesla private dramatically overstate the actual capital raise needed.
August 13, 2018, 3:38 p.m. CEST Shortly after this post was published, Elon Musk posted a note on the Tesla website, confirming that Saudi Arabia is interested in financing Tesla going private.
As a result, Tesla shares jumped 11 per cent, causing so-called short-sellers who have been betting on the stock crashing for years to lose millions.
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. If the board approves the deal, then it would go to a vote of shareholders.