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Tesla Go-Private Effort Advances With Board Panel to Study Offer

15 August 2018

The Silicon Valley billionaire last week said on Twitter he wants to take Tesla private at $420 a share, valuing it at $72 billion, and claimed funding was "secured". The SEC has asked Tesla for more details about Musk's tweets and proof that he has secured the necessary funding for the transaction.

Elon Musk has a big plan to take Tesla private.

The board had confirmed earlier this month that it had "met several times over the last week" to discuss going private.

The billionaire says the Saudis have been pushing him to take Tesla private for nearly two years, promising to back him up should he make this decision.

In short, things at Tesla are a big old mess, and we're very curious to see how it all shakes out.

According to Musk, the Saudi sovereign fund expressed its interest in order to diversify from oil and "has more than enough capital needed to execute on such a transaction".

Musk's attempt to take the carmaker private requires approval from the committee, the filing by Tesla said. Musk says he has stayed in contact with the Saudi fund and has been reaching out to other investors ever since.

Goldman Sachs and Silver lake declined to comment.

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The special committee has the authority to take any action on behalf of the board to evaluate and negotiate a potential transaction and alternatives to any transaction proposed by Musk, the company said in the statement.

The special committee is composed of independent directors Brad Buss, Robyn Denholm and Linda Johnson Rice.

Denholm, the first woman on Tesla's board, is chief operations officer of telecom firm Telstra and the former chief financial officer of network gear maker Juniper Networks (JNPR.N).

Buss served as chief financial officer of solar panel installer SolarCity for two years before retiring in 2016.

One director, Steve Jurvetson, is now on leave of absence following allegations of sexual harassment.

On 7 August, Musk surprised the investment world with a Twitter announcement that he was considering taking Tesla private and that the funds needed to do so - which some financial analysts estimate at more than $70 billion - were "secured".

The special committee has retained lawyers - Latham & Watkins - in addition to a legal team used by the company.

Tesla Go-Private Effort Advances With Board Panel to Study Offer