Tesla directors: 'No formal proposal' to take company private

Jermaine Castillo
August 15, 2018

"I left the July 31st meeting (with the Saudi fund) 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.

Musk's effort to associate his potential bid with some of Wall Street's most venerable institutions, even at the risk of misrepresenting their involvement, comes as pressure has been building on him to justify his pronouncement last week about the "secured" funding. The SEC has asked Tesla for more details about Musk's tweets and proof that he has secured the necessary funding for the transaction. Musk further claimed that he had the "funding secured" to take the company private, an act that would cost up to $70 billion.

Negotiations are still ongoing with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund and with several other investors.

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The committee, made up of three independent directors, said Tuesday that it has not received any formal proposal from Musk.

Elon Musk said via Twitter on Monday evening that he was working on a proposal with Goldman Sachs and Silver Lake as financial advisers to take Tesla private. Continuing, it said there is no guarantee it would accept a proposal from Musk.

Musk's attempt to take the carmaker private requires approval from the committee, the filing by Tesla said. The agency declined to comment. The lawsuit alleges that Musk tweeted that message to boost Tesla's stock price and punish those investors who bet against the company.

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Shares of trade-sensitive companies also declined, including Boeing, 3M and Caterpillar, which were all down at least 1 per cent. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 2.10-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.51-to-1 ratio favoured decliners.

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

According to two unnamed people familiar with the fallout who talked to The Times about Musk's online musings, the Tesla CEO allegedly told an informal adviser that he posted on Twitter "impulsively", and said he was "not the kind of person who could hold things in", and admitted he "was angry at the company's critics".

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.

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Latham and Watkins LLP has been retained by the committee as its legal counsel.

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