Tesla forms committee to assess proposal to go private

Tesla Elon Musk

Musk broke silence in a blog post Monday after several days of speculations on how he is going to privatize Tesla following his announcement on Twitter on August 7 that he was considering taking Tesla private at a price of 420 US dollars per share.

Last night, Musk revealed that Saudi Arabia's Public Investment fund had been pitching him on going private since early 2017.

In essence, what was initially considered to be a stupid weed joke has cost Musk the goodwill of Tesla fans (or at least those seeking to profit from his offer to go private at $US420 [$577]), deepened his already contentious relationship with short sellers, led to an SEC investigation, and could potentially cost him losses in court.

The 47-year-old billionaire's sudden interest in short shorts appears to have been sparked by his ongoing war against Tesla's short sellers, who have been betting for years that his vehicle company will fail.

"Despite Elon Musk's frustration with being a public company, I think there are more advantages to remaining public", said CFRA analyst Efraim Levy, citing cheaper access to capital and media exposure due to interest in a public company.

He said he had most recently met with the Saudis on 31 July and left that meeting "with no question that a deal with the. fund could be closed, and that it was just a matter of getting the process moving".

The committee has the authority to evaluate and negotiate a potential deal, or any alternatives proposed by Mr. Musk, on the board's behalf, Tesla said.

Goldman Sachs and Silver lake declined to comment.

Musk contends the fund approached him about taking Tesla private early past year, noting that two weeks ago he was approached by the fund's managing director who expressed strong interest in financing a go-private deal. On Monday Tesla was hit with a third lawsuit, which alleged that Musk's tweet was meant to manipulate the price of the company's stock.

The three-person team that will give the ultimate thumbs up consists of former SolarCity chief financial officer Brad Buss, former Sun Microsystems executive Robyn Denholm, and former MoneyGram board member Linda Johnson Rice.

One director, Steve Jurvetson, is now on leave of absence following allegations of sexual harassment.

CEO Elon Musk shocked Wall Street last week when he announced on Twitter that he was considering taking the company private.

Latham and Watkins LLP has been retained by the committee as its legal counsel.

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