Elon Musk, the billionaire chief executive of Tesla, has claimed that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has been pushing to take the electric car maker private.
In a blog post, Mr Musk said he had discussed the proposal with the sovereign wealth fund for almost two years and it had backed the plan last week.
“Going back almost two years, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund has approached me multiple times about taking Tesla private,” Musk wrote.
“They first met with me at the beginning of 2017 to express this interest because of the important need to diversify away from oil. They then held several additional meetings with me over the next year to reiterate this interest and to try to move forward with a going private transaction.
“Obviously, the Saudi sovereign fund has more than enough capital needed to execute on such a transaction.”
Mr Musk has been under pressure to reveal the possible source of his “secured” funding after he surprised investors with his announcement on Twitter that he would take the company private at $ 420 a share, valuing the company at $ 72bn.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is understood to have already opened an inquiry into Mr Musk’s tweets.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $ 420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
The Wall Street regulator is reported to have asked Tesla why plans to go private were disclosed on the social media platform rather than in an official filing.
Mr Musk, who has had a rocky relationship with some shareholders, is being sued by investors who accuse him and Tesla of concocting a scheme to “completely decimate” short-sellers.
However, Mr Musk said the managing director of the Saudi fund has expressed support since his tweets.
He said: “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. T
“This is why I referred to “funding secured” in the August 7th announcement.
“Following the August 7th announcement, I have continued to communicate with the managing director of the Saudi fund.
“He has expressed support for proceeding subject to financial and other due diligence and their internal review process for obtaining approvals.
“He has also asked for additional details on how the company would be taken private, including any required percentages and any regulatory requirements.”