Aug 17, 2018

Between the lines: Where Elon Musk and NYT differed on Tesla

Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave a lengthy interview to the NY Times, in which he acknowledges that he's spread way too thin. But it was the Times reporting vs. what Musk said, plus its conflating his messy personal life with his professional life, that was most notable.

By the numbers: Tesla's stock is getting walloped after the interview came out, down nearly 9% from yesterday's close to about $307 as of publish time.

Data:; Chart: Axios Visuals

Between the lines:

  • Musk didn't "recall getting any communications from the board" after his initial take-private tweet (which was sent while driving to the airport), but subsequently admitted via a spokesman that director Antonio Gracias had indeed contacted him about it.
  • Musk also said that "to the best of my knowledge,” there is “no active search right now" for a number two exec at Tesla, but the Times reports that such a search is indeed underway.
  • Not surprisingly, shares are sinking fast this morning (which isn't reflected in the above chart).

Personal admissions

  • "There were times when I didn’t leave the factory for three or four days — days when I didn’t go outside... This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends.”
  • He spent all 24 hours of his 47th birthday at the office.
  • He often takes Ambien in order to sleep.

CNBC also reports that Tesla is in talks with three potential financial advisors: Lazard, Evercore and Centerview.

Go deeper on USA vs. Musk: A primer on how we got here.

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