Tesla forms three-member panel to look at any Musk deal

Tesla looking to go private with backing of Saudi fund

In a statement published on the company's website Monday, Musk said a July 31 meeting with the managing director of Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund had given him confidence the fund would back a deal to take Tesla private.

Tesla's board of directors announced Tuesday that it has formed a three-person panel to evaluate any proposal by CEO Elon Musk to take the company private, formalizing the internal review process for any such plans.

The New York Times reports that Tesla board members were shocked by Musk's recent tweets about taking the company private once stock price reached $420 a share. 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.

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.

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"This is why I referred to "funding secured" in the August 7th announcement".

Securities lawyers said USA law requires executives and companies to have a "reasonable basis" on which to make statements, meaning the fact Musk said he believed he had secured a verbal agreement for the funding after the July 31 meeting could put him on a firmer footing with the SEC. "No assurances can be given regarding the likelihood, terms and details of any proposal". A source told Reuters that Silver Lake was working with Musk without compensation and has no plans to participate as an investor in the proposal.

Musk's tweets announcing his intentions to take the company private have prompted a backlash from some investors. Musk expects two-thirds of shares to stay in Tesla.

Musk announced his plans to take Tesla private one week ago over Twitter, announcing that he would offer a price of $420 per share (which later turned out to not be a weed reference). 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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"Obviously, the Saudi sovereign fund has more than enough capital needed to execute on such a transaction", he wrote.

Tesla declined to comment further on the matter.

Musk said on Monday he was in talks with a Saudi sovereign fund for taking the electric auto maker private. Those overtures continued, culminating in a meeting on July 31, Musk said.

Musk said Monday he had held talks with a Saudi sovereign fund on a buyout that would take Tesla off the Nasdaq exchange - an extraordinary move for what is now the United States' most valuable automaker.

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FILE PHOTO: Tesla CEO Elon Musk at a press conference at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018.

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