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Saudi Arabia is exploring how it could bankroll Elon Musk's ambitious plan to take Tesla private, as burnt short-sellers sue the electric auto entrepreneur over his bombshell tweet last week.

Following the announcement of Tesla's plans to potentially go private and reports that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund had amassed a 5% stake, shares surged as high as $389 - a new record.

"Going back nearly two years, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund has approached me multiple times about taking Tesla private", Musk wrote in a blog post on Monday.

The Public Investment Fund didn't respond to requests for comment, and Tesla declined to comment. Our largest investors have been extremely supportive of Tesla over the years, and understanding whether they had the ability and desire to remain as shareholders in a private Tesla is of critical importance to me.

On August 2nd, I notified the Tesla board that, in my personal capacity, I wanted to take Tesla private at $420 per share.

While Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased last week about taking the company private, several suitors may have already been courting the electric vehicle giant months ago. But Tesla shares were up only minimally in early trading, suggesting investors are yet to be convinced.

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The amount of funding needed would depend on how many current investors want to remain part of the $60.9 billion company if it goes private. Musk and his advisers are seeking a wide pool of investors to back a potential take-private of the automaker to avoid concentrating ownership among a few new large holders, according to people familiar with the matter. Sources said he is canvassing other potential investors including asset managers.

Wall Street is awash with speculation on who might team up with Musk to do a deal.

The revelation comes days after Musk's claim in an August 7 Twitter post that financing for a deal to take Tesla private had been "secured".

In one of the lawsuits, the plaintiff Kalman Isaacs said Musk's tweets were false and misleading, and together with Tesla's failure to correct them amounted to a "nuclear attack" created to "completely decimate" short-sellers.

Tesla shares "jumped 11 percent" following Musk's tweets predicting privatization of the company, leading to lawsuits filed by investors and a Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation. The company, which held talks with Musk in 2017 about a possible investment, isn't interested in revisiting such a plan, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the details aren't public. The Saudi government is trying to diversify the country's economy which is dependent on oil.


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