Elon Musk resumes testimony in defense of his tweets

Elon Musk testified that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund “obviously” wanted Tesla to go private in 2018.

In a class action lawsuit, shareholders allege that the tweets were false and that they suffered heavy losses due to the stock price volatility over the 10 days before the plan was abandoned.

After briefly appearing on the witness stand on Friday, when he resumed testimony on Monday, Musk told jurors the Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, Calif., on July 31, 2018. He said he met with representatives of the Public Investment Fund. He discussed the deal with He said the fund needed “potentially” less than $10 billion. Court filings show that Musk himself owned about 19% of Tesla at the time. . A billionaire would have needed more than 50% for him to take his company private.

“It is clear that Tesla fully supported going private,” Musk said in federal court in San Francisco. “Clearly and without hesitation,” Musk said the PIF’s president, Yasir al-Rumayan, confirmed with the Saudi crown prince. “I thought that meant the deal was closed.”

Musk said the purchase price was not discussed, but Saudi Arabia’s representatives said they would do what was necessary to make the deal happen.

The investor’s attorney, Nicholas Porritt, questioned Musk as to why there was nothing in the document and no specific amount of money PIF would pony up.

“That’s not how they do business,” Musk said. “If they say they are going to do something, they will. There is no signed document here or there.”

The trial will require jurors to delve into Musk’s state of mind when he tweeted on August 7, 2018, that he had “secured the funds” to take Tesla private at $420 a share. Investor support has been confirmed,” he added.

Porritt asked Musk if the reference to $420 a share was a joking reference to marijuana culture, which he thought would amuse his then-girlfriend. The amount was chosen because it reflects a premium of about 20% to Tesla’s stock price, he said.

“I don’t know if she thought it was funny, but the 420 price was no joke,” he testified.

Musk’s attorneys told jurors in opening statements last week that his tweets were hasty and contained technical errors, but they were accurate about his sincerity in taking Tesla private. Said he told me

In testimony Friday, the well-known entrepreneur and prolific Twitter user provided a very understated assessment of his influence over the social media network he now owns. After tweeting, testimony indicated that Musk was minimizing his role in the electric car maker’s soaring stock price.

The trial comes at a time when Musk’s fortune is declining from its November 2021 peak of $340 billion. Musk became the first person in history to lose more than his $200 billion, all the while spending his $44 billion to acquire his Twitter Inc. The world’s richest man, Tesla’s shares have plummeted 27% since December 1, as electric car makers face increased competition and a looming recession.

Musk is no stranger to court battles and has been nicknamed “Teflon Elon” for his ability to escape unscathed. He ran for and won trials in Los Angeles in 2019 and in Delaware in 2021. He also testified in November in a Delaware investor lawsuit over a $55 billion Tesla payment package, which has yet to be decided.

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