Grappling with tweet aftermath, Musk acknowledges exhaustion

Darnell Taylor
August 19, 2018

In the hour-long interview, where Musk choked up multiple times, he said: "This past year has been the most hard and painful year of my career".

Elon Musk said no one saw or reviewed his tweet about the plan to take the electric-car maker private before he posted it. Reports following the tweet have indicated that, while talks have been initiated, funding has not been secured.

Mr Musk acknowledged that no one read his Twitter post before he sent it, but insisted he did not regret it. An analysis this week by Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi concludes that Tesla is fairly valued at around its current stock price.

"It seemed like better karma at US$420 than at US$419", he said in the interview. "Weed is not helpful for productivity", he told the Times. "There's a reason for the word 'stoned.' You just sit there like a stone on weed", he added. "Funding secured." Tesla shares rose following the tweet but the CEO's statement that he had funding secured came under scrutiny. It fell more than 6% Friday.

But it's not clear that Tesla will privatize anytime soon, and it won't be easy if it does happen - the sheer uncertainty and SEC investigation are bound to scare off investors.

"If the board does not get him out of this slot at a minimum on a leave of absence basis, I think the board is going to be seen by a lot of people who love the company as being derelict in their duties", he said.

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.

Elon Musk is estranged from his and Kimbal's father Errol, after he had a baby with his own stepdaughter - a woman who is 42 years his junior. The figure $420 in the tweet made it more cryptic.

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A very telling moment in the interview came when Musk denied there is an active search to find a second-in-command to take on some of his day-to-day responsibilities, contrary to other reporting. Musk said he has no plans to stop tweeting however the The New York Times wrote some board members have told him to lay off twitter and focus on making cars and rockets, according to people familiar with the matter.

"There were times when I didn't leave he factory for three or four days - days when I didn't go outside", he said. "This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids".

He admitted he relied on mediation to help him sleep, saying: 'It is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien'.

Tesla has spent millions as it reached a goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of June.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment, but told the Times: "There have been many false and irresponsible rumors in the press about the discussions of the Tesla board".

Hamish Chamberlayne of Global Sustainable Equity, a Tesla investor, said it would be hard to imagine the company without Musk running things, but backed the hiring of an operations chief.

He blamed investors who are betting on the decline of Tesla's value as the cause of much of his stress, accusing them of "desperately pushing a narrative that will possibly result in Tesla's destruction".

He is chair and CEO of Tesla, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and that's to say nothing of his side projects like The Boring Company and Neuralink.

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