Tesla Shares Tumble 9% After Worrisome Elon Musk Interview

Ivan Schwartz
August 18, 2018

There's too much to Musk, Tesla and his SpaceX rocket company to bet they will go away.

He admitted he had rounded up from $419 to set the possible price, offering an approximate 20 per cent premium over the market value, but said: 'Weed is not helpful for productivity.

Musk has said repeatedly since April that Tesla has no need to raise new capital.

He said: "I thought the worst of it was over - I thought it was".

Tesla produced slightly more than 100,000 vehicles previous year and the company has been struggling to boost production of its Model 3, which is less expensive than its first models and could help expand Tesla's base.

The hour-long phone interview with several Times reporters coincides with a Wall Street Journal report that said regulators began investigating past year whether Tesla misled investors about Model 3 vehicle production ー far before Musk sent his now infamous "funding secured" tweet, which has drawn new scrutiny from the SEC.

'There were times when I didn't leave the factory for three or four days - days when I didn't go outside, ' he told the paper in an interview where he also dismissed claims he smoked weed.

If Tesla directors are anxious about Musk - and they should be - here is advice for them: Do your jobs. "Funding secured." Tesla shares rose following the tweet but the CEO's statement that he had funding secured came under scrutiny.

But, he added, 'if you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know.

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In a blog post Monday clarifying his tweet, Musk said he spoke with the board about taking Tesla private and had "no question ... a deal with the Saudi sovereign fund could be closed".

Some of Musk's stress comes from critical short-sellers who are betting against the company's success. Rather than put him to sleep, the drug has sometimes led Musk to spend his nights on Twitter, worrying some board members, the newspaper said, citing a person familiar with the board's thinking.

Am considering taking Tesla private at $420.

Musk told the Times he stands by the tweet.

Tesla's board earlier this week formed a special committee to evaluate proposals to take the company private. 'The worst is over from a Tesla operational standpoint.' He continued: "'But from a personal pain standpoint, the worst is yet to come'". Is there someone who can do the job better? Among their suggestions: Remove Musk as CEO, permanently or via a temporary leave of absence, or appoint a No. 2 executive who could act as a steadying hand.

In an hour-long sit-down with the newspaper, Musk also detailed his frequent use of the sleep-aid Ambien - a drug he's discussed using before, and whose well-known side effects include sleepwalking.

Tesla's board is said to be concerned about Musk's erratic behaviour - prompting executives to launch a search for a number-two who can take pressure off him.

Tesla shares closed at $305.50, their lowest level since August 1, as analysts and business professors questioned whether the company's board should grant Musk a leave or even replace him with a more seasoned CEO.

At the end of trading Friday the company was down another 9% (about $5.5 billion) following his interview with The New York Times Thursday where he basically answered the question: YOU OK, MAN? with NOT REALLY. "They can have the reins right now". They can't exactly afford to excommunicate their leader, hence why no one on the board has intervened so far, with Musk's mental health and concentration becoming hard to ignore.

Other reports by GizPress

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