Goldman Sachs wasn’t adviser when Musk tweeted plans

Sridhar Natarajan and Alex Barinka
Bloomberg News

Elon Musk’s announcement about his advisers might be as squishy as his funding.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. hadn’t been formally tapped as a financial adviser by Tesla Inc.’s chief executive officer when Musk revealed plans last week to take the automaker private and said he’d secured the funding for the transaction, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Conversations are ongoing between the bank and the CEO, the people said.

Musk said on Twitter late Monday that he’s working with Goldman Sachs and private-equity firm Silver Lake as financial advisers to take Tesla private. Such a statement from a public company CEO typically signals a formal agreement. And in a normal go-private process, a senior executive like Musk would have detailed plans from those advisers on funding sources before disclosing the take-private effort.

Even at the time of the more recent tweet from Musk, Goldman Sachs hadn’t formally signed on to help take Tesla private, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.

Silver Lake appears to be in a similar situation. Reuters reported Monday that the firm hasn’t been hired as an adviser in an official capacity, and the Financial Times reported that Silver Lake was unaware of Musk’s plan when it was announced last week.

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Representatives for Tesla and Silver Lake didn’t respond to requests for comment.