Musk says talking to Saudi fund, others on Tesla buyout

13 August, 2018, 19:12 | Author: Gerard Cortez
  • Tesla has been targeted by short-sellers- the hedge fund managers Jim Chanos and David Einhorn in particular- who are betting on the company's failure

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has shown no interest so far in financing Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk's proposed $72 billion deal to take the US electric vehicle maker private, despite acquiring a minority stake in the company this year, two sources familiar with the matter said.

It comes after Mr Musk publicised plans to take Tesla private for $420 (£329) a share, a deal that would value the company at $82bn, including debt. 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. Musk and his advisers are seeking a wide pool of investors to back a potential take-private of the automaker to avoid concentrating ownership among a few new large holders, according to people familiar with the matter.

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 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.

The wealth fund recently bought almost five per cent of Tesla's shares. He has also asked for additional details on how the company would be taken private, including any required percentages and any regulatory requirements. Since the meeting, the men have continued discussions and the managing director has expressed support "subject to financial and other due diligence and their internal review process for obtaining approvals", Musk wrote. Musk has said he still expects to own about 20 percent of Tesla after any transaction, and that he hopes all shareholders will remain owners of a private company.

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Some analysts have suggested that Musk could convince Tesla's top shareholders, such as Fidelity Investments and China's Tencent, to roll their equity stakes into the deal, thereby significantly reducing the amount of money needed to be raised.

Musk's August 7 tweets helped push Tesla's stock price more than 13 percent above the prior day's close.

The lawsuits filed by Isaacs and William Chamberlain said Musk's and Tesla's conduct artificially inflated Tesla's stock price and violated federal securities laws. Once those discussions are complete, Musk will bring a proposal to Tesla's board.

It also reflects the fact that Tesla, once the clear leader in the electric-car market, is facing increasing competition and has yet to deliver on its mass production ambitions. "So the potential investor must be patient and strategic-looking".

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