Musk in talks with Saudi fund, others on Tesla buyout

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The board, which announced the committee is composed of three independent directors, said it had not received a formal proposal from Musk on taking the company private and had not come to any conclusion about whether such a move was advisable.

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk on Monday tweeted that he would work with buyout firm Silver Lake and investment bank Goldman Sachs as financial advisers on a proposal to take private the electric vehicle maker. The company appears to be playing catch-up with Musk's assertions about the momentum behind a deal, highlighting the speed at which the proposed transaction is unfolding. But Tesla's announcement appears to contradict Musk's August 7 tweet in which he said the "only reason why" the deal is not certain "is that it's contingent on a shareholder vote".

In a prepared statement Tuesday, Tesla said that "no assurances can be given regarding the likelihood, terms and details of any proposal or potential" to go private. Musk said the fund had "more than enough capital" for such a deal, but The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the fund is having difficulty financing its existing commitments.

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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". All those interested, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), wanted to know precisely what that means.

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Goldman Sachs has always been a key adviser to Tesla, but the apparent involvement of Silver Lake, best known as a private-equity firm specializing in tech investments, is striking.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Earlier in the day, he said Saudi Arabia first approached him with interest in taking Tesla private early a year ago. Musk says he has stayed in contact with the Saudi fund and has been reaching out to other investors ever since.

He left that meeting on 31 July "with no question that a deal. could be closed - it was just matter of getting the process moving".

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