Tesla, Elon Musk sued and official enquiries made over Twitter claims

US market regulators are reportedly stepping up their scrutiny of Elon Musk's claim that he has the financing to take Tesla private

Giant Saudi fund emerges as backer of bid for Elon Musk's Tesla

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), the country's sovereign wealth fund, is in talks with Tesla about becoming a significant investor as part of the move towards privatisation, sources with knowledge of the fund's plans told Bloomberg on Sunday.

However, Reuters reports that PIF has shown no interest so far in financing Musk's proposed $72 billion deal to take the USA electric vehicle maker private.

The transaction would be structured with equity so as not to burden Tesla with crushing debt, Musk added.

Musk said in a blog post on Monday he had "no question" that the Saudis would finance such a transaction following a July 31 meeting. "Obviously, the Saudi sovereign fund has more than enough capital needed to execute on such a transaction". The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Musk's disclosure of the potential deal, according to reports earlier this week.

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If such a deal goes through, and is approved by both shareholders and the SEC, it will require about US$72 billion ($97 billion) in funding.

One suit claims Musk and the company committed fraud in a "short squeeze" scheme to drive up Tesla's stock price higher.

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) is a centerpiece of its initiative to modernize the kingdom's economy.

Tesla was reportedly courted by Japan's SoftBank in April of previous year, though sources told Bloomberg on Monday that the conglomerate isn't planning to participate in deals for Tesla's buyout as it has already vested interest in other auto makers and autonomous vehicle programmes, like General Motors. The Saudi fund hasn't made any firm decisions on whether to increase its stake, or by how much, but talks are ongoing, they said. The country's Public Investment Fund, which has built up a stake of nearly 5 per cent in Tesla in recent months, is exploring how it can be involved in the potential deal, according to Bloomberg. In a tweet on Sunday, the nation's Energy Department said Saudi Arabia now is working to develop a city to support the supply of raw materials and parts for the automobile industry. Sources said he is canvassing other potential investors including asset managers.

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The company has invested US$3.5b in Uber in June 2016, teamed up with Softbank for a US$93b tech fund in May, and pledged to invest about US$1b in Virgin Group's space companies, Virgin Galactic in October.

The Public Investment Fund didn't respond to requests for comment, and Tesla declined to comment.

Musk is interested in having a wide pool of investors rather than few stakeholders.

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