Elon Musk claims Saudis would help him take Tesla private

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One of the potential financiers of the US$82-billion taking-Tesla-private deal could be Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund Public Investment Fund (PIF), which was said to have acquired just below 5 percent in Tesla before Musk tweeted about his idea to make the EV maker private.

Musk's disclosure, made in a blog post on Tesla's website, comes six days after the Silicon Valley billionaire shocked investors with a post on Twitter saying he was considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share and that funding was "secured".

The Saudi investment fund approached Musk months ago to discuss acquiring a minority stake but was turned down as the company did not plan on issuing new shares at the time, a source close to the discussions told Bloomberg.

On the day following the tweet, Tesla's Board of Directors members Brad Buss, Robyn Denholm, Ira Ehrenpreis, Antonio Gracias, Linda Johnson Rice, and James Murdoch said that Elon Musk had opened a discussion with the board in the previous week about taking 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". 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. Musk and SoftBank Group's Masayoshi Son held talks past year that touched on taking Tesla private, two people with knowledge of the talks have said.

Musk added that he has continued talks with the managing director of the Saudi fund who wishes to move forward with the process.

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His comments in which he said he is considering taking the green auto maker private for $420 a share shocked Wall Street and sent Tesla stock surging. I do not think it would be wise to burden Tesla with significantly increased debt.

"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. It is appropriate to complete those discussions before presenting a detailed proposal to an independent board committee.

A handful of investors have filed lawsuits against Tesla and Musk, claiming the company's share price had been manipulated.

Musk says that means reports suggesting Tesla would need more than $70 billion to go private "dramatically overstate the actual capital raise needed. So the potential investor must be patient and strategic-looking".

Musk wrote in an internal letter last week that he would like to restructure Tesla in the image of SpaceX, his commercial space company, by giving Tesla employees company shares and allowing them to buy or sell them.

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