Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has shown no interest so far in financing Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk's proposed $72 billion deal to take the USA electric auto maker private, despite acquiring a minority stake in the company this year, two sources familiar with the matter said. The talks between the Saudi fund and Tesla reportedly began before Musk's tweet on August 7.
Musk published a blog post confirming a report that Saudi Arabia's Public Interest Fund would be the previously unknown party bankrolling the move to re-privatize the company - and revealing that his tweet last week claiming "funding secured" was merely an assumption on his part.
A Tesla investment would add to the Saudi fund's long growing list of high-profile purchases.
Tesla opened at $355 Monday, an 18% discount to the $420 Musk singled out in his tweet.
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.
"The question is still around Tesla's future sales". I will now continue to talk with investors, and I have engaged advisors to investigate a range of potential structures and options.
In a separate class-action lawsuit also filed in federal court in San Francisco, William Chamberlain contends Musk "materially" misled investors between August 7 and August 10 claiming investor support for the deal was secured and that the funding was in place. The discussions failed to progress due to disagreements over ownership. The comprehensive plan, known as Vision 2030, was laid out in April by the country's leaders and involves transferring 5 percent of state-owned Saudi Aramco to the investment fund through an initial public offering, expected to be the largest in history.
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Wall Street is awash with speculation on who might team up with Musk to do a deal.
Musk is interested in having a wide pool of investors rather than few stakeholders.
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. Bloomberg attributed the information to a person familiar with the discussions.
PIF invested $3.5 billion in ride-sharing company Uber previous year.
SoftBank's decision to back away from any potential Tesla take-private is noteworthy given its self-styled reputation as the investor du jour for any technology or tech-enabled asset that comes to market.
The Saudi government is planning to turn the PIF into a US$2 trillion powerhouse to help diversify the kingdom's oil-dependent economy.