Tesla looking to go private with backing of Saudi fund

Musk, who is still looking for funding for the plan, also said law firms Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and Munger, Tolles & Olson would be legal advisers on the plan.

Musk said that the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund "has approached me multiple times" starting in early 2017 about taking Tesla private and had already taken a stake of almost five percent though share purchases.

A statement Tuesday from Tesla's board said the special committee "has the full power and authority of the board of directors to take any and all actions on behalf of the board of directors as it deems necessary to evaluate and negotiate a potential going private transaction and alternatives to any transaction proposed by Mr. Musk". Their investigation is part of a larger probe into the information Musk provides on Twitter, including sales targets and other goals.

Musk said on Monday he was in talks with a Saudi sovereign fund for taking the electric auto maker private.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Musk's effort to associate his potential bid with some of Wall Street's most venerable institutions, even at the risk of misrepresenting their involvement, comes as pressure has been building on him to justify his pronouncement last week about the "secured" funding.

Musk on Monday estimated two-thirds of existing Tesla shareholders would roll over their holdings into a private company, but said that he was still talking with major shareholders and advisers before settling on a structure for the deal. The statement makes it clear that nothing Musk has tweeted so far is a done deal. "The $420 buyout price would only be used for Tesla shareholders who do not remain with our company if it is private". Tesla bought SolarCity that year.

In the days that followed, the SEC got involved, reportedly investigating Musk's online musings about taking the company private.

Denholm, the first woman to join Tesla's board, is chief operations officer of telecom firm Telstra and the ex-CFO of network gear maker Juniper Networks. The company has separately retained Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati for legal counsel.

  • Wendy Palmer