Tesla shares tumble after Elon Musk interview sparks fresh fears

Tesla shares tumble after Elon Musk interview sparks fresh fears

The interview - during which The Times said Musk "alternated between laughter and tears" - comes amid the turmoil the Tesla chief triggered last week when he tweeted that he had secured funding to take the electric auto maker private.

In an interview with the New York Times, Musk said he typically works as many as 120 hours a week, and that it's been almost 20 years since he took a week-long vacation.

In an extended story in Friday's Times, Musk said that the past year has been "excruciating" and "the most hard and painful" of his career.

Investors must have gotten unnerved.

On August 7, Elon Musk surprised investors when he wrote on Twitter that he was considering Tesla's withdrawal at Dollars 420 a share, or around USD 72 billion, which would be 20 percent higher compared to the price at which the company's securities were traded on that day.

Amid an intensifying Securities and Exchange Commission probe into a misleading Tweet that sent Tesla shares soaring, the company's founder and CEO, Elon Musk, has laid bare his innermost turmoil.

In a separate report, The Wall Street Journal said securities regulators have been investigating if Tesla misled investors about Model 3 production problems.

Tesla's board is said to be concerned about Musk's erratic behaviour - prompting executives to launch a search for a number-two who can take pressure off him. But he told the newspaper that he wrote the tweet inside a Tesla Model S while he was driving to the airport, and that no one else reviewed it. Taking Tesla private would finally put an end to short-sellers - you can't freely sell and buy private company stock - and allow Musk to finally get some much needed sleep.

He explained that the Aug 7 tweet claiming assurance that funding for going private was secured was an attempt to be transparent, even though it provoked questions from analysts about whether it violated stock market regulations. Weed is not helpful for productivity.

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It's clear from the interview that Musk is overworked, and Whiston said the best course may be to bring in another executive to help with day-to-day operations.

In a tweet on Friday, CNBC news anchor Jim Cramer called the latest interview "devastating" and said "the safest thing for Musk right now is a medical leave".

Later it emerged that the Tesla CEO has been in discussions about taking the company private with the Saudi sovereign investment fund.

If Tesla directors are anxious about Musk - and they should be - here is advice for them: Do your jobs.

"Musk also expressed a desire to improve production to the point where Tesla can make two cars at once", said the report.

Some of Musk's stress comes from critical short-sellers who are betting against the company's success.

Musk is known for odd behavior and controversial statements, but investors have stuck with him and driven Tesla to a higher market value than General Motors. "Is there someone who can do the job better?"

The company's stock was also under pressure after UBS analysts said in a research note that the carmaker's premium Model 3 sedan will not produce better profit margins than a conventional BMW (BMWG.DE).

Elson said most of the company's directors have relationships with Musk, who owns about 20 percent of the company.

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