Tesla seeks wide investor pool to back its take-private plan

US market regulators are reportedly stepping up their scrutiny of Elon Musk's claim that he has the financing to take Tesla private

In one of the lawsuits, the plaintiff Kalman Isaacs said Musk's tweets were false and misleading, and together with Tesla's failure to correct them amounted to a "nuclear attack" created to "completely decimate" short-sellers.

While Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased last week about taking the company private, several suitors may have already been courting the electric auto giant months ago.

Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund is in talks that could see it becoming a significant investor in Tesla as part of Elon Musk's plan to take the electric vehicle maker private, according to people with knowledge of the fund's plans.

"Going back nearly two years, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund has approached me multiple times about taking Tesla private", Musk wrote in a blog post.

It comes after Mr Musk publicised plans to take Tesla private for $420 (£329) a share, a deal that would value the company at $82bn, including debt.

Musk had discussed going private with SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son past year but the duo failed to come to an agreement regarding ownership of the company.

The Saudi wealth fund's current stake in the company is valued at about $2 billion.

The company later published an email sent by Musk to the company's employees outlining how the company might be taken private, yet still provide stock options for existing shareholders.

SoftBank Group Corp., the Japanese conglomerate that has been touted as a potential source of capital for a buyout of the carmaker, isn't planning to participate in such a deal, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Musk is interested in having a wide pool of investors rather than few stakeholders. The US Securities Exchange Board has questioned the authenticity of Musk's tweets. Among the reasons, they said, is that SoftBank has already placed big bets on the future of the automobile with General Motors Co., and that Tesla faces increased competition and has yet to deliver on its mass-market ambitions.

SoftBank's decision to back away from any potential Tesla take-private is noteworthy given its self-styled reputation as the investor du jour for any technology or tech-enabled asset that comes to market.

For Saudi Arabia, an investment in Tesla could act as a hedge against the long-term decline of oil.

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