Exclusive: Saudi Arabia’s PIF has shown no interest in bankrolling Tesla buyout – sources

DUBAI/RIYADH/LONDON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has shown no interest so far in financing Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) CEO Elon Musk’s proposed $72 billion deal to take the U.S. electric car maker private, despite acquiring a minority stake in the company this year, two sources familiar with the matter said. The 47-year-old investor and engineer stunned financial markets on Tuesday when he said on Twitter that he was considering a take-private deal for Tesla, an auto manufacturing pioneer that developed the world’s first luxury all-electric sedan car. He also said he had secured funding for the proposal, without providing details. Investors and analysts viewed PIF as a natural financing partner. Beyond amassing a stake of just below 5 percent in Tesla, the sovereign wealth fund has poured tens of billions of dollars into technology investments, including $45 billion in SoftBank Group Corp’s (9984.T) Vision Fund over five years. However, a source who is familiar with PIF’s strategy said it was not currently getting involved in any funding process for Tesla’s take-private deal. A second source close to the situation also said PIF was not taking part in any such plan at this stage. This source said that the Saudi fund would not make an investment of this kind without seeking guidance first from Softbank. Reuters reported on Wednesday that SoftBank was not currently pursuing a deal for Tesla given its investment earlier this year in rival GM Cruise. PIF’s reluctance will add to the pressure on Musk to produce details of his financing plan. Tesla’s board has not received a detailed financing plan from him and is seeking more information, Reuters reported on Thursday. The board will make a decision on whether to hire advisers and launch a formal review of Musk’s take-private proposal in the coming days, based on how much detail on the financing plan it receives from Musk, a third source said. The sources requested anonymity because the deliberations are confidential. A spokesman for PIF was not immediately available for comment. A Tesla spokesman declined to comment on behalf of the company and Musk. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has contacted Tesla to ask about Musk’s assertion on Twitter that funding for his proposed deal was “secured”, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.