Elon Musk has revealed Saudi Arabia as the main source of cash in his grand plan to take Tesla private.
After days of speculation about how a buyout could work, the billionaire published details of a series of talks he had with the oil-rich country’s sovereign wealth fund in a 1,100-word blog.
The 47-year-old also claimed the deal’s value would be less than a third of the $72billion (£56.5billion) predicted by analysts, helping the electric car company to avoid adding to its mountain of debt.
Elon Musk has revealed Saudi Arabia as the main source of cash in his grand plan to take Tesla private
Regulators are looking at why Musk announced the buyout proposal on Twitter, which saw its share price soar, as lawsuits allege his decision was a tactic to hurt short-sellers betting that its stock price would fall. Tesla is currently the most shorted stock in the US.
But Musk defended his move, saying he wanted to discuss the proposal with larger shareholders and that making the plans public was the best way to ensure smaller investors were kept in the loop.
He wrote on the blog: ‘I’m considering taking Tesla private because I believe it could be good for our shareholders, enable Tesla to operate at its best, and advance our mission of accelerating the transition to sustainable energy.
‘I made the announcement last Tuesday because I felt it was the right and fair thing to do so that all investors had the same information at the same time.
‘I will now continue to talk with investors, and I have engaged advisers to investigate a range of potential structures and options.’
In his blog, Musk said the Saudis had been pushing for a deal since early 2017 as a way of reducing their reliance on oil.
Discussions ramped up during a meeting on July 31 this year when Musk said Saudi sovereign fund officials made clear they could provide the necessary financial backing to take Tesla private
At the same time they built a 5 per cent stake in the company, which was revealed last week.
Discussions ramped up during a meeting on July 31 this year when Musk said Saudi sovereign fund officials made clear they could provide the necessary financial backing to take Tesla private.
He said: ‘I left the meeting with no question that a deal with the fund could be closed.’
Musk said this was why he tweeted on August 7 that funding was secured for the buyout plans.
He said he told the Tesla board on August 2 that he wanted to take the company private, and then sought talks with major shareholders.
He claims equity rather than debt would be the main source of cash for the deal, but talks were ongoing.
Musk said he told the Tesla board on August 2 that he wanted to take the company private, and then sought talks with major shareholders.
The overall value of the deal would be less than what analysts predicted because only investors who do not want to remain with a private company would be paid, Musk said.
The billionaire said he expected about one-third of shareholders to take an offer of $420 per share, making a buyout worth roughly $23.6billion (£18.5billion).
Musk wrote: ‘Reports that more than $70billion would be needed to take Tesla private dramatically overstate the actual capital raise needed.’
The Saudi sovereign fund has not publicly commented on the possibility of a deal.
Following the blog post, shares in Tesla sunk 1.3 per cent to around $351.