Tesla's Elon Musk is $1.4 billion richer amid talk of going private

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The surprise announcement was sandwiched between other provocative tweets and, among other things, promptly caused a temporary halt in the trading of Tesla shares on Wall Street while also causing some to doubt if Musk was being serious.

Tesla directors have said they knew about Elon Musk's surprise proposal to privatise the money-losing vehicle maker before he tweeted about it and have met several times in the past week to discuss the proposal. He followed up the tweet with an email to Tesla employees saying that he thought "the best path forward" would be to take Tesla private. Funding secured." But later the same day, he said "a final decision has not yet been made, "in an e-mail to the company's employees". He goes on to mention the quarterly earnings cycle and how that puts pressure on the company to focus on moves that would boost quarterly numbers while disregarding longer-term motives and outcomes.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted Tuesday that he's is mulling taking Tesla private at US$420 a share.

Musk's tweet certainly moved markets. "I own about 20 percent of the company now, and I don't envision that being substantially different after any deal is completed", Musk added.

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He said that would allow Tesla to "operate at its best, free from as much distraction and short-term thinking as possible".

In his typically controversial fashion, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk dropped a bombshell on his Twitter account, which he has used as a platform for pranks, vitriol and now for a proposal to pull off one of the biggest buyouts in USA history.

China's Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK), which took a 5 percent stake in Tesla a year ago, could also be a possible partner.

Making money has proven elusive for Tesla while it has been investing in electric auto technology and ramping up production of its vehicles, including a sedan with a starting price of $35,000 to appeal to a broader audience.

Elon Musk tweets about going private and shares 'skyrocket'
Fortune has yet to ascertain the veracity of the tweet, and will update this article once Tesla responds. When another person tweeted that going private "saves a lot of headaches", Musk replied, "Yes".

Shares of electric car-maker Tesla opened slightly lower on Wednesday, one day after a proposal to go private pushed the company's stock near an all-time high.

Also on Tuesday, the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia's public investment fund - a major backer of SoftBank's fund - had invested roughly $2 billion in Tesla for a stake representing 3% to 5% of the company. However, they may balk if Tesla becomes even more leveraged and risky in the process of going private. "Either way, the future is very bright, and we'll keep fighting to achieve our mission".

The board had "met several times over the last week" to discuss going private, the statement said.

"Just because" Musk wants it at $420 "doesn't mean that there aren't other people who might be willing to come in with another transaction that would be more beneficial to shareholders", Pitt said.

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Any buy-out would require a shareholder vote.