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Tue 29 Jan 2019 09:40 AM

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Saudi Arabia moves to protect itself against Tesla share decline

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund played a key role in Elon Musk's short-lived effort to take Tesla private last autumn

Saudi Arabia moves to protect itself against Tesla share decline
The PIF played a key role in Elon Musk’s short-lived effort to take Tesla private last autumn.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has made arrangements to protect itself against a decline in Tesla shares, the Financial Times reported.

The Saudi's Public Investment Fund hedged most of its 4.9 percent stake in Tesla through an arrangement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. bankers after the market closed Jan. 17, the FT reported, citing four people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The fund still holds Tesla shares but now faces little exposure if the shares drop, according to the newspaper.

Representatives for the PIF, Tesla and JPMorgan declined to comment.

Tesla shares briefly extended declines after the report and were trading down 0.5 percent to $295.45 as of 1:25 p.m. Monday in New York.

The stock is down about 11 percent this year, as an across-the-line-up price cut and job reductions have fuelled concern about demand for its pricier electric vehicles.

The PIF played a key role in Elon Musk’s short-lived effort to take Tesla private last autumn. The chief executive officer said the fund spoke with him several times starting in 2017 about the idea and prompted him to tweet in August that he had the funding secured to buy out shareholders. The gambit fell apart after Musk failed to line up financing.

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