Tesla sheds $US5.4 billion after Elon Musk's emotional interview

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The Times described Musk as "struggling to maintain his composure" when he stated: "This past year has been the most hard and painful year of my career".

In an hour-long interview with The New York Times, he choked up multiple times, noting that he almost missed his brother's wedding this summer and spent his birthday holed up in Tesla's offices as the company raced to meet elusive production targets on a crucial new model. In the interview the executive describes not leaving the Tesla factory for days at a time, a 120 hour work week, nearly missing his brother's wedding, and not taking a break for longer than a week since 2001.

"It's not been great, actually". He just wanted to offer a 20 per cent premium on Tesla's price at the time, which would have been $US419 ($576).

One funding possibility being considered for the potential privatisation is for Musk's rocket company SpaceX to help bankroll the deal and take a stake in Tesla, the New York Times said, citing people familiar with the matter.

All of this prompted Times columnist Kara Swisher to ask: "Is Elon Musk Crazy?"

The stunning announcement sent Tesla's stock on a wild ride, prompting lawsuits and reportedly drawing scrutiny from regulators. Another adds that now the SEC has also subpoenaed members of Tesla's board of directors to try and find out if and how much they knew about Musk's plans for the company.

But the limelight is eventually taking its toll, with Mr Musk admitting he works 120 hour weeks and has not taken more than a week off since 2001 - when he had malaria.

Musk told the paper he has no plans to relinquish his roles of both CEO and chairman at the company.

To add to Musk's troubles, his rash tweets - that even surprised the company's board and made stocks go insane before they were frozen - landed him in hot water with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which is formally investigating whether Musk manipulated markets illegally.

He and other board members are preparing to meet with Securities and Exchange Commission officials as early as next week, the Times said.

Musk is known for odd behavior and controversial statements, but investors have stuck with him and driven Tesla to a higher market value than General Motors.

Reaction to the Times interview came swiftly on social media, including a comment from television personality Jim Cramer, who says Musk requires "medical leave". Over the past few months, Musk dressed down stock analysts for asking "bonehead" questions and called a cave diver who helped rescue a Thai soccer team "pedo guy".

'This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. They can have the job. He said that he believed his tweet was an attempt at transparency and he did not have anyone else look at or review it before it posted.

After the story published, the Times reported that Tesla contacted the editors to correct Musk's statement about the board. They can have the reins right now'. Besides the SEC probe, Musk is facing a reputation stain as a result of his readiness to use Saudi oil money to take Tesla private.

'Is there someone who can do the job better?

In preparation for the mounting litigation, Musk, Tesla and the board of directors, respectively, have hired lawyers from top firms: Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Cahill Gordon & Reindel; and Latham & Watkins.

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