“I thought your letter today was excellent,” Dees wrote to Musk in an email that was shown to the jury. “Very clear. At GS we are standing by and ready to help. Call me anything – 24/7.”
Musk told jurors that Tesla’s relationship with JPMorgan Chase & Co. had gone south.
He testified that he “withdrew all commercial banking business from JPMorgan, which to say the least made JPMorgan hate Tesla and me.”
Musk generally performed stronger as a witness Tuesday than he did Monday, when he confessed in court that he’d gotten a poor night’s sleep and complained in his fourth hour on the stand that he was suffering from back pain.
Porritt wasn’t able to land as many blows to Musk’s narrative in the final hour of the CEO’s testimony Tuesday before he was excused.
But Porritt did get Musk to grudgingly acknowledge that he never got commitments for specific funding amounts for the Tesla take-private transaction from the Saudi fund — or any bank or person.
“Not a specific number,” Musk said. He’d previously testified he believed the Public Investment Fund’s support was “unequivocal,” and added Tuesday that “PIF can take Tesla private 150 times over.”
Musk was also confronted over his failure to mention the possibility of tapping into SpaceX shares when he submitted a written explanation to the court in 2021 about the state-of-play for financing the take-private deal in 2018. Musk said Tuesday that he’d mentioned SpaceX to the Securities and Exchange Commission in its 2018 probe of the tweets, but forgot to bring it up in the current case before Monday.
“It was an error on my part in not mentioning it here,” he said.
Later, Tesla’s head of investor relations, Martin Viecha, testified that Musk’s tweets triggered a barrage of queries to him about whether “this a real event or is this made up.” He said that before the tweets came out, he had no experience with privatization in his previous work as a side-sell analyst.
Viecha said he told many investors the take-private plan was indeed a “firm offer,” but didn’t clear that language with Tesla’s chief financial officer or others at the company.
“It was my understanding that Saudi PIF would be taking over the company,” Viecha testified. “I don’t actually know if there was a commitment letter or if there was a verbal agreement.”©2023 Bloomberg L.P. Visit bloomberg.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.