Tesla shares fell over 8 percent following an interview CEO Elon Musk gave to The New York Times Friday that highlights the pressures associated with manning the helm at the California automaker.
The company’s stock is on pace for its worst day since March, when it fell 8.22 percent. Tesla fell over 15 percent since Musk announced on Twitter that he was considering taking the company private after years of being publicly traded.
Musk told TheNYT that the past year has been “excruciating,” calling it “the most difficult and painful” of his career. He also claimed to have logged 120 hours a week, according to TheNYT report, which comes days before Musk is scheduled to talk to federal regulators about claims he made in an Aug. 7 tweet claiming to have “funding secured” to pull Tesla out of Wall Street.
Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) bought up 5 percent of the electric vehicle maker’s shares in 2018, sources told the Financial Times. The PIF’s position is worth between $1.7 billion and $2.9 billion at Tesla’s current share price. The stake makes the fund one of Tesla’s eight biggest shareholders. Musk used recent discussions with the Saudi family as the justification for the tweet.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is also reportedly trying to determine if the tweet was designed to hurt Tesla short-sellers, according to The Wall Street Journal. The WSJ reported that the agency is pressing Tesla’s board on how much information the CEO shared ahead of last week’s Twitter announcement. The stress is getting to the billionaire tech guru.
“There were times when I didn’t leave the factory for three or four days — days when I didn’t go outside,” Musk said before admitting that he has not had more than a week’s vacation since 2001. “This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends.”
He spent the full 24 hours of his 47th birthday at work.
“All night — no friends, nothing,” Musk told TheNYT.
Musk’s belligerent attitude toward short-sellers and the media is probably not helping matters. He engaged in a highly unusual and combative tit-for-tat with reporters on the call in April, which culminated in Musk calling reporters “boneheaded” for asking questions about problems plaguing the electric automaker. (RELATED: ‘Unusual’: Elon Musk Appears To Have Nervous Breakdown During Bizarre Tesla Earnings Call)
The analysts on the call were asking a series of questions about aspects of Tesla’s business model, which has been scrutinized recently for failing to meet crucial sales deadlines. The company’s Model 3 vehicle, which many argued was the car that would thrust Tesla into the automotive industry elite, has sputtered, flopped and failed to hit the sales marks Musk previously promised. The dust-up resulted in reports from CNN and other outlets lamenting Musk’s treatment of the media.
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