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Elon Musk Testifies He Could Have Taken Tesla Private With Funds From SpaceX In 2018

Benzinga logo Benzinga 1/24/2023 Bibhu Pattnaik
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Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk said that he believed he could have sold his stake in his rocket company SpaceX to take Tesla private in 2018. 

On Monday, Musk testified at a trial in a San Francisco federal courtroom and defended his 2018 tweet about taking Tesla private and saying “funding secured.”

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“SpaceX stock alone meant ‘funding secured’ by itself. So it’s not that I want to sell SpaceX stock, but I could have, and if you look at the Twitter transaction — that is what I did. I sold Tesla stock to complete the Twitter transaction. And I would have done the same here,” CNBC quoted Musk saying in court. 

However, Musk didn’t mention how many shares and at what price he would have been able to sell in his SpaceX stock to finance the Tesla buyout, CNBC reported. 

According to a New York Times report, Musk acknowledged that he had not mentioned his SpaceX shares as a potential funding source in a 2021 deposition. 

However, Musk said that he had mentioned using those shares in a deposition that was part of an investigation by the SEC into Musk’s move to take Tesla private. 

Investors are seeking billions of dollars in damages for their losses after Musk posted about taking Tesla private at $420 per share on Twitter.

Nicholas L. Porritt of Levi & Korsinsky, a shareholder attorney, asked Musk if the price he suggested for Tesla shares was a joke; Musk said the $420 amount was chosen because “it was a 20% premium over the stock price.” He reportedly said the price was not a joke.

However, he said it was coincidental, “There is some, I think, karma around 420... I should question whether that is good or bad karma at this point,” CNBC quoted him saying during his testimony. 

Musk also testified that he met with representatives of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, at Tesla’s Fremont, California, factory on July 31, 2018. 

According to Musk, the fund governor, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, later retracted the commitment to take Tesla private. 

“I was very upset because he had been unequivocal in his support for taking Tesla private when we met, and now he appeared to be backpedaling,” Musk testified.

SpaceX is reportedly raising $750 million in a fresh funding round that would value the company at $137 billion.

The latest funding round is likely to be led by Andreessen Horowitz. 

Read Next: While Elon Musk Is Focusing More On Twitter And Tesla, SpaceX Employees Are Loving The Calm

Photo: Courtesy of Dunk on flickr.

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