Elon Musk raged at the head of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund for failing to support its bid to take over Tesla in 2018, complaining that he was thrown “under the bus,” according to newly disclosed text messages.
“I am very upset,” Musk wrote to Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF), on August 12, 2018. The texts were sent just days after Musk shocked the financial world by tweeting that he was considering acquiring Tesla at $420 a share, adding “secured financing.”
The infamous tweet sparked a lawsuit from Tesla shareholders, who claim that Musk lied about having the funds needed to delist Tesla from the exchange and make it private. As part of the lawsuit, a series of texts were disclosed between Musk, shareholders, directors and other related parties in a recent lawsuit.
Musk texts with pomegranate stand out from the ferocity displayed. The billionaire CEO was outraged by news stories that claimed the PIF had “shown no interest” in helping take Tesla private, claiming he was told otherwise by Saudi officials. The news stories were “false” and “outrageous,” Musk infuriated.
“This is a very weak statement and does not reflect the conversation we had at Tesla,” Musk said in one of the messages. Bloomberg story. “You’ve said that you’re definitely interested in making Tesla private and have wanted to do that since 2016. You’ve also made it clear that you were the decision maker, and on top of that very strongly supported by the Crown Prince, who considers this to be strategically important at a national level.”
“I’m sorry, but we can’t work together,” he added.
Al-Rumayyan replied: “It’s up to you, Elon.”
“You’re throwing me under the bus,” Musk said.
“It takes two people to tango,” Al-Rumayyan said, adding that the Public Investment Fund had not yet received financial information from Musk’s team regarding a plan to make Tesla private. The governor of the Public Investment Fund said the fund would not be able to move forward in its talks with Tesla without “sufficient information”.
Musk criticized Al-Rumayyan for claiming he needed more information than was already disclosed in Tesla’s regulatory filings. He texted, “Yasser, when we met at Tesla recently, you said that you were the decision maker for the PIF, that you wanted to take the Tesla takepr deal for two years, and that this was directly backed by the Crown Prince. I checked with my team who were in That meeting in case I remembered something wrong and they confirmed exactly that.”
He added: “You are highly financially savvy and understand very well what a go-private company may require, which is that there must be at least a 20% premium in the market in order to buy-out any shareholders who do not want to remain part of the company when private. This is all standard practice. Nothing unusual at all.”
“There are many other mutual funds that want to be a part of this deal,” Musk continued. “We don’t need your fund to get this done. I will not work with an organization whose public statement to the media does not match its private statements for me and my team.”
Al-Rumayyan reiterated the need for more information before the talks could continue, while also denying that anyone in the PIF had “goed to the media”. But Musk can’t talk about it.
“I read the article. It’s a weak sauce and it still makes me look like a liar,” Musk said. “It is full of mystery and in no way indicates the strong interest I conveyed personally.”
Al-Rumayyan insisted that they should continue the discussion in private, but Musk refused. “I’m sorry, but there will be no further contacts unless you fix the public perception of shoddy support and interest from the PIF,” he wrote. “That’s not what you said to me and my team in private. Someone is either a friend or not a friend and no friend says one thing in private and another thing in public. It’s not true.”
Musk’s tweet about making Tesla private also sparked an investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which ultimately concluded that while he had held several meetings with the PIF, Musk “never discussed a private $420-per-share deal with any possibility.” Source The fund, it did nothing to investigate whether all existing investors would be able to stay with Tesla as a private company via a “special purpose fund,” and it did not confirm Tesla investors’ support for a potential private deal. The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently in a lawsuit with Musk over the results of the investigation.
Musk eventually abandoned his plan to take Tesla private, concluding that it was a distraction from the company’s efforts to produce a Model 3 electric sedan. Musk also said that the process of exploring his options reinforced his belief that “there is more than enough funding to make Tesla private.”
The file also contains a large number of additional messages, including texts that Musk sent to Larry Page, one of the founders of Google. Two days after sending out his “secured funding” tweet, Musk texted Page, “Just called. BTW, this is Elon. Not sure if you have my new number.”
“No, I didn’t… I’m a traveler. Nice block 5!” the page replied.
“Thanks!” “Do you want to invest in Tesla?” said Musk, adding: “Do you want to invest in Tesla?”
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