In an interview with the New York Times, Tesla CEO Elon Musk denied being stoned when he tweeted that he had secured funding to take the company private, a move that resulted in the SEC subpoenaing the eccentric billionaire and his board of directors.
In the tweet from earlier this month, Musk proposed taking Tesla private at $420 a share — roughly 20 percent higher than the stock was trading at publicly — and claimed he had secured funding to do so. During the interview, which was published Thursday, Musk said the rounded figure wasn’t a nod to the 420 code that’s largely associated with cannabis use.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
“It seemed like better karma at $420 than at $419,” Musk told the Times. “But I was not on weed, to be clear. Weed is not helpful for productivity. There’s a reason for the word ‘stoned.’ You just sit there like a stone on weed.”
The tweet has since landed Musk in hot water with regulators. Although he has been seeking an infusion from Saudi Arabia’s $250 billion investment fund to take Tesla private, no such deal has been struck.
The SEC subpoenaed Musk and Tesla’s board after the agency first asked the company for explanations, the Times reported. Both parties are expected to meet as soon as next week.