Elon Musk told a jury he was confident he could have pulled off his proposal four and-a-half years ago to take Tesla Inc. private, saying he never has trouble raising money for his companies.
The chief executive officer, in his third day on the witness stand, was defending the legitimacy of his assertion in an August 2018 tweet that he had “funding secured for the take-private transaction.”
“Every financing round I’ve had has been oversubscribed,” he testified on Tuesday in San Francisco federal court in response to friendly questions from his own lawyer. “It’s not a problem for me to raise money. I’ve done a good job for investors and if you do a good job, they give you money.”
In addition to Tesla, Musk runs SpaceX, the closely held rocket-ship company, and he acquired Twitter Inc. in October for $44 billion.
Musk spent most of his approximately four hours on the stand on Monday facing off with a lawyer for investors who claim the billionaire’s Twitter posts in August 2018 were misleading — and caused shareholders who made bets on his tweets to suffer big losses.
While investor attorney Nicholas Porritt was trying to show that the short-lived take-private proposal was hollow, lacking the most fundamental details, Musk told jurors it was solid. He testified about the possibility of using his holdings in SpaceX to help finance the transaction, along with a multibillion-dollar commitment by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
Musk also said that his actual language in the tweet on August 7, 2018 — “Considering taking Tesla private” — was not the same as saying “the deal will be done.”
He said on Tuesday that the aim in his tweets was to be transparent and “do the right thing with Tesla shareholders.”
“I’m making it very clear that either scenario is possible,” he said. “We may go private or we may not.”
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