Tesla Inc. (TSLA) founder and CEO Elon Musk said late Monday that he's hired several legal and financial advisers as part of his drive to take his iconic clean-energy car company private, even as investors appear unconvinced that his $72 billion price target is achievable.
Musk Tweeted that Goldman Sachs GS and Silver Lake will assist him in the take private process, which he first mooted on Tuesday, August 7 and detailed in a blogpost on the company's corporate website yesterday. However, serious questions over his ability to arrange financing for the transaction, which he first characterized as "secured" but then later described as "just a matter of getting the process moving" with his key shareholder, Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, have raised questions from investors and could trigger a probe from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
I'm excited to work with Silver Lake and Goldman Sachs as financial advisors, plus Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Munger, Tolles & Olson as legal advisors, on the proposal to take Tesla private— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 14, 2018
Tesla shares were marked 0.64% higher in pre-market trading Tuesday, indicating an opening bell price of $358.70 each, a move leave the stock around 4.7% higher than before Musk's "considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured" Tweet at mid-day on August 7, but more than $10 billion shy of his proposed takeout value.
Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) owns a 5% stake in Tesla, Musk noted in Monday's blogpost, and has "approached me multiple times about taking Tesla private" over the past two years.
Musk than added that the fund's managing director, whom he did not name but is understood to be Yasir Al Rumayyan, "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" during a meeting on July 31
"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 explained.
Musk's explanation is likely to ease some concerns regarding a Wall Street Journal report last week that said the Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into the veracity of Musk's "considering taking Tesla private" Tweet and why the CEO opted to inform investors of his plans via social media as opposed to a formal filing with regulators.
However, the stock's share price still sits well below the prescribed $420 takeout and taking Tesla private at that level would likely require billions in debt market funding, even alongside Musk's assertion that the $70 billion to $72 billion price tags "dramatically overstate the actual capital raise needed." and that "his best estimate right now is that approximately two-thirds of shares owned by all current investors would roll over into a private Tesla."