Elon Musk says talks with Saudis led him to tweet "funding secured"

Elon Musk at Tesla Model 3 reveal

Tesla [NYSE: TSLA] CEO Elon Musk provided insight Monday behind his “funding secured” comment made last week when he floated the idea of taking the automaker private.

Musk released a statement on Tesla’s blog and wrote the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia approached him multiple times in the last two years to discuss taking Tesla private. The Saudis are reportedly interested in Tesla in a move to diversify away from oil, he said.

Musk on Monday confirmed the Saudi fund bought “almost 5 percent of Tesla stock through the public markets.”

In July 31 meeting with the fund’s managing director, Musk said the investors seemed eager and willing to move forward with a plan to take Tesla private.

Musk said he notified Tesla’s board of directors Aug. 2 of the proposed plan. Musk wrote that he tweeted the plan Aug. 7 after “it was clear to me that the right thing to do was announce my intentions publicly.”

Since going public on Twitter, Musk said he has “continued to communicate with the managing director of the Saudi fund,” and that “he has expressed support for proceeding subject to financial and other due diligence and their internal review process for obtaining approvals.”

Musk said that the director for the Saudi fund has requested financial details and other due diligence, including regulatory requirements, on taking Tesla private.

On Aug. 7, trading of Tesla stock was halted for 92 minutes following Musk’s tweets. A brief statement was released Aug. 8 by some members of the board that confirmed Musk’s plan.

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The SEC announced last week they would investigate whether Musk violated any regulations in his tweets Wednesday.

Musk said he anticipates that most Tesla shareholders would remain invested in the company if it were to go private, and that reports of a $70 billion buyout are inflated.

Musk said he will “continue to talk with investors” as he looks into taking the automaker private.

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