Every bizarre thing that has happened since Elon Musk sent his ‘funding secured’ tweet about taking Tesla private (TSLA)
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk has attracted controversy for his statements about taking Tesla private.
- Questions have persisted about the amount of funding Musk had secured when he first suggested he had the backing necessary to convert Tesla into a private company, barring a shareholder vote.
- The SEC has reportedly asked Tesla about statements made by Musk and the company.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk shocked observers when he said on August 7 that he was thinking about taking the company private. Since then, Musk’s comments have captivated Wall Street, drawn the attention of regulators, and raised questions about how close the company is to locking down the financing necessary to leave the public markets.
Here’s what you need to know to get caught up:
November 15, 2017: Elon Musk says in a Rolling Stones interview that he wishes Tesla was a private company.
“I wish we could be private with Tesla,” Musk said in the interview. “It actually makes us less efficient to be a public company.”
July 31, 2018: Musk claims he met with the managing director of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
Musk claimed in a statement published on Tesla’s website on Monday that he had a meeting with the managing director of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund on July 31.
During this meeting, Musk claimed the director “expressed regret that I had not moved forward previously on a going private transaction with them, and he strongly expressed his support for funding a going private transaction for Tesla at this time. I understood from him that no other decision makers were needed and that they were eager to proceed.”
“I left the July 31st meeting with no question that a deal with the Saudi sovereign fund could be closed, and that it was just a matter of getting the process moving,” Musk said.
The Saudi sovereign fund did not respond to a request for comment.
August 1, 2018: Tesla reports second-quarter earnings amid fear the company is running out of cash.
Tesla reported an adjusted loss per share of $3.06 for the second quarter, which was larger than what analysts had predicted, and revenue of $4 billion, which beat analyst projections. Its cash burn, $739.5 million, was lower than analysts expected. The company said it expected to be profitable during the second half of 2018.
“Going forward, we believe Tesla can achieve sustained quarterly profits, absent a severe force majeure or economic downturn, while continuing to grow at a rapid pace,” the company said.
During the company’s earnings call, Musk apologized to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. analyst Antonio Sacconaghi. During Tesla’s first-quarter earnings call in May, Musk had referred to Sacconaghi’s questions as “boring” and “boneheaded.”
“I’d like to apologize for being impolite on the prior call. Honestly, I really think there’s no excuse for bad manners, and I was kind of violating my own rule in that regard. There are reasons for it in that I had gotten no sleep, had been working 110-hour, 120-hour weeks, but nonetheless, there’s still no excuse,” Musk said during the second-quarter earnings call.