Published: Mon, August 20, 2018
Money | By Hannah Jacobs

Elon Musk says he's cracking under stress of Tesla job

Elon Musk says he's cracking under stress of Tesla job

The interview - during which The Times said Musk "alternated between laughter and tears" - comes amid the turmoil the Tesla chief triggered last week when he tweeted that he had secured funding to take the electric auto maker private.

In the interview, he calls the past year "excruciating" and "the most hard and painful year of my career" while also acknowledging that he often relies on Ambien to help him sleep.

As he explained in the interview, Musk was en route to an airport when he announced on Twitter that he was considering making Tesla a private company once more.

Investors must have gotten unnerved.

Tesla shares fell as much as 8% in Friday trading.

But the tweet that has potentially created serious legal problems for Musk came last week when he wrote in a post that he is considering taking Tesla private at US$420 a share, adding, "funding secured".

In an emotional interview with The New York Times, Musk also revealed that the pressures of work had caused him to spend his birthday stuck in the Tesla factory and nearly miss his brother's wedding.

Tesla has spent millions as it reached a goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of June. "They can have the reins right now".

After all these though, Musk says he does not regret the tweet.

"That's a clear factual statement", said John C. Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School who specialises in corporate law and securities fraud.

The Saudi sovereign wealth fund first met with Musk early past year about taking Tesla private, Musk said, adding that they'd met multiple times. "I definitely did not get calls from irate directors".

The company did not comment on that report, but it did say it was forming a special committee to evaluate proposals to take the company private.

Mr Musk also revealed he needed to take prescription medication to sleep during the latest ordeals, and disclosed he had approached Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg about becoming his number two at Tesla.

Tesla shares are down 1% this year, including Friday.

Since the interview Tesla's board had shown no sign of taking any action.

Musk, the chairman and chief executive of electric-car maker Tesla, acknowledged that he was fraying and friends had become concerned about the toll exhaustion was taking on his physical health.

In a separate report, The Wall Street Journal said securities regulators have been investigating if Tesla misled investors about production problems for its Model 3 auto. He made the announcement via Twitter, he said, because he wanted all Tesla investors to know about the possibility of Tesla going private at the same time. Last year, the company only made 2,700 Model 3s, compared with 20,000 predicted by Musk last year. On Monday, in a blog post, Musk admitted that was not true, as he was still waiting on a finalized deal with his investors, a Saudi Arabian foreign investment fund. Tesla bulls are counting on Musk to exponentially raise production, leading to long-term profits.

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