Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund eyes investment in Lucid Motors, report says


Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund may buy an electric auto maker competing with Tesla in the luxury vehicle segment, Reuters reports, citing unnamed sources.

Tesla has presented plenty of challenges for Musk.

Tesla's stock woes are continuing amid worries about the viability of CEO Elon Musk's plan to take the automaker private. "The fundamentals are starting to look very sound to us, on this company, and we think that we actually support the stock if it really starts to take center stage", the analyst said. The Saudis' Public Investment Fund, which recently purchased nearly 5 percent of Tesla, is in talks for a separate $1 billion investment in Lucid Motors Inc. that would give the fund control of that fledgling automaker, Reuters reported.

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A Lucid spokeswoman declined to comment, and representatives for the Saudi fund couldn't immediately be reached for comment on the Reuters report, which cited people familiar with the talks without identifying them.

In a tweet early Sunday after arriving home from a late night at a Tesla factory, Musk told the Huffington Post founder that his electric auto company and Ford are the only two American automakers that have avoided bankruptcy. Musk has admitted in a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times that stress is taking a heavy toll in what he calls an 'excruciating year.' In the newspaper's account of the interview, published Friday, Musk said he was working up to 120 hours a week and sometimes takes Ambien to get to sleep.

An open letter from Huffington, a board member at Uber Technologies Inc., to Musk accused him of "demonstrating a wildly outdated, anti-scientific and horribly inefficient way of using human energy".

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He said in a statement that the Saudi sovereign fund had first contacted him "at the beginning of 2017 to express (their) interest because of the important need to diversify away from oil". Musk said Tesla approached Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, but she presumably knocked the company back given she is still at Facebook. In a Monday research note, JPMorgan analyst Ryan Brinkman discarded any notion that Musk would take the company private at $420 a share. Her description accompanying the open letter describes her as a "flat shoe advocate and sleep evangelist".

The bank had raised its forecast following Mr Musk's tweet, which he later said was based on discussions with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund.

While its prototype Lucid Air sedan has been well-received, it's unclear whether the company has the funding to get production going. Ford ultimately moved on.

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