Elon Musk tells Saudi court wants to privatize Tesla, $420 ‘not a joke’

Elon Musk testified Monday that he believes he has enough capital to take Tesla Inc. in 2018, both from a Saudi Arabian investment fund and from his stake in SpaceX, and one of his key tweets on the matter was “totally honest.”

The Tesla CEO went on to testify in a federal court in San Francisco about investor losses attributed to tweets he posted in 2018, including the tweet “protection of guarantee his funding”.

Representatives of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund were “very clear about moving forward,” Musk said. He also mentioned his large stake in private aerospace company SpaceX, and that “just means funding is secured.”

Musk sometimes appeared flustered under the hour-long check from the lead plaintiff’s attorney Nicholas Porritt.

When asked about the texts between him and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the sovereign wealth fund’s top executive, Musk said the texts are essentially “a cover-up, because there’s no better word.” “, towards the Saudi executive.

Musk said he became “angry” and “very upset” about Al-Rumayyan’s “stepping back,” a word Musk has repeated many times. “Anyone would be angry about that,” Musk said.

“My tweet was honest, it was completely honest,” Musk said, referring to the tweet “financially secured.” Musk reiterates not only because of his understanding with the Saudi fund but also because of SpaceX.

Last year, Musk sold Tesla stock to buy Twitter Inc., and “I will do the same here,” he said.

In the early afternoon, under cross-examination from his attorney, Alex Spiro, Musk said he “never” tried to deceive Tesla’s shareholders and use SpaceX as a model to ensure their continued investment. invest in private Tesla.

“I think it would be good for shareholders to take Tesla private,” Musk said. “We are under unprecedented attack from short sellers.”

At Spiro’s prompting, Musk also referred to an earlier affidavit and said that Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.


had a “permanent interest” in buying Tesla, which influenced his ideas about privatizing the electric vehicle maker at the time.


shares rallied further Monday as Musk’s testimony was underway, ending the trading day up 7.7% and the highest since Dec. 19. Shares traded at a high of $143.50 , the highest intraday price since December 20.

Musk told the court that the $420-a-share price in the deal “was a coincidence” because it was about 20% higher than Tesla’s share price at the time and “is not the case.” a joke.”

In certain circles, the number 420, pronounced 4-20, alludes to marijuana use.

Plantiff’s attorney, Porritt, also asked a number of questions that prompted Musk to say he hasn’t spoken to major Tesla shareholders such as Baillie Gifford and T. Rowe Price about the possibility of taking Tesla private. Musk also said he can’t remember specifics around talking to the board about the plan.

Giving the famous tweet “funding guaranteed” is one way to stay ahead of an upcoming project. Financial Times story about the Saudi fund buying a large stake in Tesla and as a way to inform all Tesla investors, Musk said. Furthermore, he tweeted that he was “considering” the move, “not saying it would be done,” Musk told the court.

Musk gave a brief testimony on Friday before the trial adjourned for the day, tried to clarify that his tweets didn’t always make it into the mail. Testing began last week and is expected to take place in February.

“Just because I tweet something, it doesn’t mean people believe it or act accordingly,” Musk said Friday to a defense attorney.

The test revolved around Musk’s tweets from August 2018, including one where he told his millions of Twitter followers that he was “considering buying Tesla at $420” and then which adds “guaranteed funding”. The plan then failed.

Investor Glen Littleton, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, alleges that he lost money due to false tweets and is asking for damages.

US District Judge Edward Chen ruled that Musk’s tweets about the privatization of Tesla were untrue and that Musk acted recklessly.

However, it remains up to jurors to decide whether the tweets mattered to investors and whether the misinformation caused damage to investors.

CEO and Tesla used to be fined $20 million in September 2018 by the SEC to settle civil charges surrounding “financial security” tweets and Musk has been stripped of his role as chairman at Tesla.

Musk and Tesla have agreed to settle the charges against them, neither admitting nor denying the SEC’s allegations.

Musk’s bid to termination of the SEC settlement about Tesla’s tweets were rejected last year.

Tesla stock has lost 55% in the past 12 months, compared with a roughly 9% drop for the S&P 500 index


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