Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund is in talks that could see it becoming a significant investor in Tesla as part of Musk's plan to take the company private, people with knowledge of the fund's plans said earlier Sunday.
The Saudi investment fund approached Musk months ago to discuss acquiring a minority stake but was turned down as the company did not plan on issuing new shares at the time, a source close to the discussions told Bloomberg.
The lawsuits were filed three days after Musk stunned investors by announcing on Twitter that he might take Tesla private in a record $72 billion transaction that valued the company at $420 per share, and that "funding" had been "secured".
Tesla board members are preparing to meet with financial advisers this week to evaluate Musk's proposal. Now, Tesla and Elon Musk are facing legal action, with a number of Tesla investors filing legal complaints against the company and its founder, according to Bloomberg.
The Public Investment Fund didn't respond to requests for comment, and Tesla declined to comment. While the entrepreneur owns 20 per cent of Tesla, more than US$60 billion would be needed to buy the business from public shareholders.
In laying out why he is considering taking Tesla private, Musk pointed in part to shorts.
"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. Bloomberg attributed the information to a person familiar with the discussions. The discussions failed to progress due to disagreements over ownership.
"I left the July 31st meeting (with the fund) with no question that a deal with the Saudi sovereign fund could be closed, and that it was just a matter of getting the process moving", Musk said. As a result, PIF itself made a decision to buy about US$2 billion in Tesla shares on the market with the help of an investment bank, the person said. He later tweeted that investor support was already confirmed.
SoftBank Group Corp., the Japanese conglomerate that has been touted as a potential source of capital for a buyout of the carmaker, isn't planning to participate in such a deal, according to people with knowledge of the matter.