Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund sold most of its Tesla Inc. shares last quarter.

The Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund held just 39,151 shares at the end of the year, according to a regulatory filing. 
The fund sold as Tesla went on an epic run to end the year, powered by a surprise profit and accelerated rollout of its next vehicle, the Model Y.

But the stock has only built on that momentum in 2020, already surging more than 125 per cent on record deliveries, another strong earnings report and an even faster introduction of the new crossover.

The Saudis factored prominently in Elon Musk’s short-lived effort to take Tesla private a year and a half ago.

After a report emerged that the fund had built a roughly $2bn stake in the company, the billionaire chief executive officer tweeted that he had “funding secured” for a buyout.

Musk’s posts stirred unease among Saudi officials about the publicity surrounding their potential role, people familiar with the matter said at the time. They were unhappy when Musk described his talks with the fund in an August 2018 blog post and used the negotiations to try to justify his claim to having lined up funding to go private.

The Saudi fund announced in September 2018 that it would invest more than $1bn in Lucid Motors Inc., an EV startup managed by the former chief engineer of Tesla’s Model S. Days later, the US Securities and Exchange Commission sued Musk, eventually resulting in him and Tesla each paying $20m in penalties.

The CEO also relinquished the chairman role for three years.

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