Published: Mon, August 20, 2018
Finance | By Cynthia Curry

Tesla struggles with too much reliance on troubled CEO Elon Musk

Tesla struggles with too much reliance on troubled CEO Elon Musk

In an extended story in Friday's Times, Musk said that the past year has been "excruciating" and "the most hard and painful" of his career.

Musk has delighted in his reputation as one of Silicon Valley's brashest entrepreneurs but in a tearful interview with the New York Times that led to company shares dropping by as much as eight per cent at one point on Friday, he said exhaustion was taking its toll.

The New York Times report said another possibility under consideration is that SpaceX would help bankroll the Tesla privatization and would take an ownership stake in the carmaker, according to people familiar with the matter.

He said he is bracing for "at least a few months of extreme torture from the short-sellers, who are desperately pushing a narrative that will possibly result in Tesla's destruction". Experts said regulators were likely investigating if Mr Musk was truthful in the tweet about having the financing set for the deal. 'Why would I?' he said.

"It's clear that Musk can not continue to run four companies at a time", said Stephen Diamond, an associate professor of law at Santa Clara University who specializes in corporate governance. "They can have the job", Musk was quoted as saying.

Questions have arisen about Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk's well being, judgment and ability to juggle multiple companies in the wake of his August 7 tweet that he was "considering taking the company private at $420 a share".

Tesla's board showed no sign of taking action on Friday. "Weed is not helpful for productivity", he told the Times.

"It's not been great, actually", he said. Tesla's cars are wildly popular and the world would miss them if the shorts prove right.

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Most of the company's board members have ties and relationships with Musk, but Elson and Gordon say they also have a fiduciary duty to all the other shareholders.

Obviously, the "on weed" comment seemed to be everyone's favorite part of the interview. The Securities and Exchange Commission and some plaintiffs lawyers will be grilling him about the honesty of his production forecasts and of last week's tweet in which he said the funding for his buyout was "secured".

And about that share price that he randomly hit on, he said he wasn't stoned when he chose the universal number to say it's time to smoke weed.

According to Musk, "two thirds" of Tesla's current stockholders would be interested in continuing to hold the firm's shares once it goes private. "The worst is over from a Tesla operational standpoint, but from a personal pain standpoint, the worst is yet to come".

An emotional Elon Musk has revealed the past year has been "excruciating", with the "worst yet to come" in his personal life.

Tesla executives have expressed concern at Elon Musk's use of the sleeping pill Ambien, reportedly suggesting it could account for his erratic tweeting and odd behaviour.

Musk told the Times that board members had not complained to him about his tweet. On Twitter, Musk has frequently complained about short sellers and taunted them. "To be clear, when I made the public announcement, just as with this blog post and all other discussions I have had on this topic, I am speaking for myself as a potential bidder for Tesla".

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