Tesla's CEO Elon Musk sued for fraud


Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund has expressed support for funding a deal that could take the electric vehicle maker private.

"During the meeting, the Managing Director of the fund expressed regret that I had not moved forward previously on a going private transaction with them, and he strongly expressed his support for funding a going private transaction for Tesla at this time", Musk said.

This is at odds with a Reuters report, published Saturday, which cited two anonymous sources claiming that PIF has no interest in financing Tesla's bid to go private.

Several analysts have said going-private would make sense for Tesla but expressed skepticism about the company's ability to raise the required funds. 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. CEO Elon Musk's audacious plan to take the carmaker private is distracting dealmakers from a normally quiet August spent in the Hamptons or Southern France. 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.

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Tesla shares were little changed at US$355.16 as of 10:29 a.m. on Frankfurt's Tradegate, before the USA market opens.

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk used Twitter late Friday to taunt investors who have bet against his company, even though his previous Twitter comments have spurred a government investigation and shareholder lawsuits.

Tesla was reportedly courted by Japan's SoftBank in April of past year, though sources told Bloomberg on Monday that the conglomerate isn't planning to participate in deals for Tesla's buyout as it has already vested interest in other auto makers and autonomous vehicle programmes, like General Motors. Finally, one of PIF's key goals is to diversify Saudi Arabia's wealth away from oil, and the fund already made numerous investments in technology and energy companies, including a $400 million investment in Magic Leap and a $3.5 billion investment in Uber. It wasn't immediately clear how much the fund would invest in Tesla. They are canvassing investors including large asset managers, the people said.

Musk is interested in having a wide pool of investors rather than few stakeholders.