Friday, 24 Mar 2023

Musk tells court Saudis unequivocally backed plan to take Tesla private

Musk tells court Saudis unequivocally backed plan to take Tesla private


Musk tells court Saudis unequivocally backed plan to take Tesla private

Elon Musk continued his testimony in a trial accusing him of defrauding investors by driving up the price of Tesla stock with his tweets on Monday, saying that he understood that Saudi financiers were "unequivocally" behind his plan to take the electric carmaker private in 2018.

The Tesla CEO's tweets suggesting he had "funding secured" to buy up Tesla stock at $420 a share are the center point of the trial now in its fifth day in San Francisco federal court.

The trial tests Musk's penchant for using Twitter to air his sometimes irreverent views, and when the world's second-richest person can be held liable for crossing a line.

At stake are millions of dollars for shareholders who claim they suffered losses after Musk tweeted in August 2018 that "investor support is confirmed" for the deal.

Tesla's stock price surged after Musk's tweets, and later fell as it became clear the buyout would not happen.

Speaking in a soft, halting tone on Monday, Musk said he had been losing sleep during the trial, saying he "had trouble sleeping last night and unfortunately I am not at my best".

He testified that he had had a meeting with investors from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund on 31 July 2018 and believed they would back the buyout plan, which would have been a $72m deal. Musk said he believed he could use his ownership of SpaceX to help bolster the deal.

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