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Disclosed Messages Show Elon Musk Privately Raging At Saudi Officials Over Tesla Bid

by Victoria Marian Belmis / Apr 27, 2022 10:02 AM EDT
Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk fumed at Yasir Al-Rumayyan, governor of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) for failing to back his bid to take Tesla private in 2018, according to newly disclosed text messages. 

"I am deeply offended," Musk wrote to Al-Rumayyan, disappointed at news reports stating that the PIF has "shown no interest" in helping take Tesla private, claiming that Saudi officials have personally told him otherwise. Musk tagged the stories as "false" and "outrageous."

"This is an extremely weak statement and does not reflect the conversation we had at Tesla," Musk said in one of the messages, linked to a Bloomberg story. "You said you were definitely interested in taking Tesla private and had wanted to do so since 2016. You also made it clear that you were the decision-maker, moreover backed strongly by the Crown Prince, who regards this as strategically important at a national level."

READ: Tesla CEO Elon Musk Strikes $44 Billion Deal To Buy Twitter

The revealed texts between Musk and the Saudi official were part of a series of texts disclosed in a recent court filing due to the lawsuit the CEO received from Tesla shareholders. Relevant parties claim that Musk lied about having the money required to take Tesla private after tweeting contradictory notions. 

He declared, "I'm sorry, but we cannot work together."

"It's up to you Elon," Al-Rumayyan replied.

"You are throwing me under the bus," Musk said.

"It takes two to tango," Al-Rumayyan said, remarking that PIF has yet to receive financial information from Musk's team regarding the plan to take Tesla private. The PIF governor said the fund would not be able to move forward without "sufficient information."

He added, "You are extremely experienced financially and are well-aware of what a go-private would require, which is that there would need to be at least a 20% premium to market in order to buy out any shareholders who don't want to remain part of the company when it is private. This is all standard practice. Nothing unusual at all."

"There are many other investment funds who want to be part of this deal," Musk continued. "We do not need your fund to get this done. I will not work with an organization who's public statement to the media do not match their private statements to me and my team."

"There are many other investment funds who want to be part of this deal," Musk continued. "We do not need your fund to get this done. I will not work with an organization who's public statement to the media do not match their private statements to me and my team."

READ: Tesla Will No Longer Include Mobile Chargers With Every New Vehicle

Al-Rumayyan denied that anyone at PIF had "gone to the media and insisted that they should continue the discussion in private, but Musk refused. "I am sorry, but there will be no further communication unless you fix the public perception of wishy-washy support and interest from PIF," he wrote. "That is not what you said to me and my team privately. Someone is either a friend or not a friend and no friend says one thing privately and another thing publicly. This is not right."

Presently, Musk abandoned his plan to take Tesla private, deducing that it was distracting from the company's efforts to produce its Model 3 electric sedan. The CEO also said that the process of exploring his options reinforced his belief that "there is more than enough funding to take Tesla private."

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