There may not be enough popcorn on Planet Earth to get humanity through the soap opera that is Tesla. Elon Musk’s plan to take the company private, if there is a plan, has spiralled into an endless series of face-palming moments that show no signs of abating.
The latest episode features an embittered rap star, more tweets from Our Hero, and profound questions about whether anyone is actually telling anything that resembles the truth.
Let’s pick up from yesterday, when we saw that Musk wrote a post claiming his plan to take the company private was being backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Though a deal wasn’t done, Musk said he’d been talking with the Saudi fund since early 2017 and was confident they were ready to move ahead at his announced price of $420 per share and a $72 billion valuation.
Then Musk tweeted the following:
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
But wait, because …
Reuters: “a source said Silver Lake was offering its assistance to Musk without compensation and had not been hired as a financial adviser in an official capacity.” https://t.co/L4XHlFE6O2 https://t.co/tBdAR2dqUG
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) August 14, 2018
So, maybe yes, maybe no on Silver Lake. Stay tuned!
Meanwhile, about that Saudi fund thing …
The New York Times reported that Saudi fund insiders said Musk’s account of the discussions were not quite, um, accurate: “But three people familiar with the workings of the Saudi fund cast doubt on his account. They said the fund had taken none of the steps that such an ambitious transaction would entail, like preparing a term sheet or hiring a financial adviser to work on the deal.”
Also, the New York Times noted that Tesla’s board was caught off guard by Musk’s original tweet revealing the idea publicly. The tweet has prompted securities regulators to make inquiries. But it also represents some grey areas because Musk insists he’s tweeting as just an average citizen thinking about making $72 billion for a company, not in his capacity as CEO of the company that he is seeking to acquire and take private.
Lacking reliable sources, naturally we must turn to rapper Azealia Banks, who said she spent last week at one of Musk’s houses with him and his girlfriend/rapper Grimes, aka Claire Boucher. They were apparently supposed to make some music together, but Banks complained on an Instagram Story that instead: “I waited around all weekend while grimes coddled her boyfriend.”
What was Musk doing? Why did he need coddling? Business Insider reports:
Over the course of the weekend, Banks said, the couple essentially went into hiding as Musk — who had tweeted earlier in the week about plans to take Tesla private and said funding was “secured” — sought funding. But Banks said the couple kept stringing her along with the promise of collaborating on music.
“They bring me out there on the premise that we would hang and make music,” Banks said in a DM. “But his dumbass kept tweeting and tucked his dick in between his ass cheeks once shit hit the fan.”
Banks said Musk seemed distracted over the weekend.
“I saw him in the kitchen tucking his tail in between his legs scrounging for investors to cover his ass after that tweet,” she said. “He was stressed and red in the face.”
This chaos follows months of Musk appearing increasingly … upset. He has become furious with critics, including journalists and short sellers. Reports that Tesla was failing to meet production goals for its Model 3 and that it might need to raise large sums of money to service its debt have sent Musk into a frenzy.
For the moment, it appears the idea to take Tesla private remains far from anything resembling a done deal. Beyond questions about whether funding is secured, as Musk claimed, there appears to be no process in place for formally proposing such a deal, or for Tesla’s board to consider it.
And the New York Times also notes that if the Saudis are involved, such a deal would likely need approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which can take quite a bit of time.
For now, keep your eye on Musk’s Twitter account. And keep the popcorn popping.