Stressed Elon Musk denies being 'on weed'

A Tesla dealership

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That tweet, with the fateful words "funding secured" and prices would be "at $420", kicked off a federal investigation as it could be seen as manipulating the marketplace and it turns out the Saudi government had spoken to him about funding but had parted with no cash yet. Venky Ganesan, investing partner at Menlo Ventures, said in an interview that the cost of capital - the rate of return required by an investor to persuade them to make a given investment - averages 17 percent to 18 percent for private companies compared with 6 percent to 7 percent for public companies.

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.

The interview follows a pattern of weird behavior from the billionaire.

In an interview that gives a rare glimpse into his personal life, Mr Musk has described the tumultuous past twelve months as "the most hard and painful year of my career". "They can have the reins right now", stated Musk.

Musk's tweet caused a financial firestorm with Tesla shares immediately skyrocketing by nearly 11 per cent, although in the coming days they lost a good part of what they had gained and tanked further after Musk's interview with the NYT. Referring to the short-sellers Musk stated: "They're not dumb guys, but they're not supersmart".

A couple of years ago, Tesla approached Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg about that job, Mr Musk told the newspaper, but he added that no active search is taking place now "to the best of my knowledge".

In the interview Musk said board members had not complained to him.

Tesla produced slightly more than 100,000 vehicles past 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. For instance, in a recent tweet he labeled a diver who aided in the cave rescue of Thai soccer players as a pedophile. It all started with a tweet on August 7, and now, fewer than two weeks later, a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry is underway, some members of Tesla's board of directors have lawyered up, and several shareholder lawsuits have been filed.

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That signals regulators are investigating if Musk was truthful in the tweet about having the financing set for a deal that analysts have estimated would require $25 billion to $50 billion.

In the interview, Musk stood by the tweet. But Tesla isn't quite normal.

I thought the worst of it was over.

The decline lopped $US5.4 billion off Tesla's market value.

"If the board is going to take any initiative, they will clamp him down", said Maryann Keller, an independent auto industry analyst in Stamford, Connecticut. "They're at a point where they're going to have to distance their oversight from any prior relations".

The WSJ recalls that Elon Musk has made bold predictions for Model 3 production, but real production numbers fell short of these until this June, when Tesla finally ramped up the weekly production of the Model 3 to 5,000.

"It seemed like better karma at $420 than at $419", he said in the interview. The challenge would be finding someone good at the job yet willing to work at a company so dominated by one person, Whiston said.

The Times reported that efforts were underway to find a No. 2 executive to take pressure off Musk, who has struggled with production issues for Tesla's key Model 3 sedan and has been criticised for behaving erratically on Twitter.

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