Published: Sat, August 18, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Elon Musk Tears Up over Tesla Turmoil, 'No Sleep or Ambien'

Elon Musk Tears Up over Tesla Turmoil, 'No Sleep or Ambien'

Musk talked about his grueling work schedule, the struggle to crank out his company's first mass-market electric auto - the Tesla Model 3 - and the fallout over his public declarations about taking Tesla private.

Last week, Musk tweeted that he was "considering taking Tesla private at $420".

The paper said the swashbuckling CEO of the electric auto company choked up at times during the interview as he talked about working endless hours trying to meet production deadlines, spending his 47th birthday in June - every hour of it - at work and nearly missing his brother's wedding.

Musk took to Twitter in July to call a British cave diver who assisted in the rescue of a Thai boys soccer team a "pedo guy".

In an interview that gives a rare glimpse into his personal life, Mr Musk has described the tumultuous past twelve months as "the most hard and painful year of my career". But this has anxious some board members, who have noted that sometimes the drug does not put Mr. Musk to sleep but instead contributes to late-night Twitter sessions, according to a person familiar with the board's thinking.

But the tweet that has potentially created serious legal problems for Musk came last week when he wrote in a post that he is considering taking Tesla private at US$420 a share, adding, "funding secured".

Musk has argued that taking Tesla private would relieve the company of the "enormous pressure" of Wall Street's expectations. It all started with a tweet on August 7, and now, fewer than two weeks later, a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry is underway, some members of Tesla's board of directors have lawyered up, and several shareholder lawsuits have been filed.

Get Data Sheet, Fortune's technology newsletter. Musk explains the circumstances around his controversial "funding secured" tweet from earlier in the month-we'll get to that in a second-but also quite frankly describes a bleak existence and a lifestyle that makes you wonder how much longer he can possibly keep it up.

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He admitted he relied on mediation to help him sleep, saying: 'It is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien'. Is there someone who can do the job better?

"I thought the worst of it was over - thought it was", he said. He just wanted to offer a 20 per cent premium on Tesla's price at the time, which would have been $US419 ($576).

And about that share price that he randomly hit on, he said he wasn't stoned when he chose the universal number to say it's time to smoke weed. "If you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know". A couple of years ago, Tesla approached Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg about the job, Mr Musk told the newspaper, but added that no active search is taking place now "to the best of my knowledge".

Tesla presents plenty of challenges for the top executive: It routinely loses money and is burning through cash as it ramps up development of its Model 3 sedan, a less-expensive electric vehicle it hopes appeals to the mass market.

Crispin Odey, one of the UK's most respected fund managers who has always been betting against Tesla, suggested the company could be on its last legs.

"Why would I?" Musk reportedly replied.

The Times said that sources told the newspaper some Tesla board members have expressed concern about both Musk's workload and his use of Ambien, a sedative. "The worst is over from a Tesla operational standpoint, but from a personal pain standpoint, the worst is yet to come".

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