Saudi Arabia's PIF has shown no interest in bankrolling Tesla buyout

Tesla, Elon Musk sued and official enquiries made over Twitter claims

Tesla Inc and Chief Executive Elon Musk were sued twice on Friday by investors who said they fraudulently engineered a scheme to squeeze short-sellers, including through Musk's proposal to take the electric vehicle company private.

Saudi Arabia is exploring how it could bankroll Elon Musk's ambitious plan to take Tesla private, as burnt short-sellers sue the electric auto entrepreneur over his bombshell tweet last week.

The fund approached Musk about going private multiple times during the past two years, and Musk says he left a July 31 meeting with no question that the deal would be closed.

Musk had recently announced that he wants to take the company private and had removed all shares from the public market at an estimated cost of at least $50 billion.

"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", he said in the blog post defending his Twitter announcement.




Musk also clarified that "most of the capital required for going private would be funded by equity rather than debt", which, he wrote, "reports that more than $70B would be needed to take Tesla private dramatically overstate the actual capital raise needed".

SoftBank isn't planning to participate as a potential source of capital in a deal taking Tesla private, according to people with knowledge of that matter who asked not to be identified as the details aren't public. "I understood from him that no other decision makers were needed and that they were eager to proceed", Musk wrote in the blog. According to a Bloomberg report, published Sunday, part of the financing for taking Tesla private might come from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF). The lawsuits also claim Musk hasn't lined up the financing necessary to take Tesla private and therefore made false statements. The talks between the Saudi fund and Tesla reportedly began before Musk's tweet on August 7.

Musk took to Twitter last week, as he does, to propose a $72 billion deal to take Tesla private, arguing it would help the company focus more on long-term goals than hitting quarterly results and would shield it from short-sellers. But Tesla shares were up only minimally in early trading, suggesting investors are yet to be convinced.

Musk wrote that at the July 31 meeting, the fund's managing director "strongly expressed his support" for taking the electric auto and solar panel maker private. If approved, the proposal would then seek regulatory approvals before undergoing a vote of Tesla shareholders.

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