Elon Musk tweets he may take Tesla electric car company private and shares roar

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced today that he is considering taking the electric car maker private, causing the company's stock to spike.

In keeping with his unorthodox style, Musk made the out-of-the blue announcement in a terse tweet.

He said he may take the company private at $US420 a share and already has secured funding.

"Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured," Musk tweeted, following up with "good morning" and a smiley emoji.

His tweet came hours after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund had built a significant stake in Tesla Inc., but it was unclear if that was the funding Musk was referring to.

The Financial Times, citing unnamed people with direct knowledge of the matter said Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund had built a stake of between 3 and 5 percent of Telsa's shares.

Tesla did not immediate respond to requests for comment.

The company's shares were up more than 5 percent at more than $360.

It's highly unusual for the head of a major company make a significant announcement in such casual manner.

The tweet prompted questions about how serious Musk's intentions were.

His asking price of $420 would be 22 percent of Tuesday's closing share price, and nearly 9 percent above the stock's all-time closing high of $385.

The figure even drew some jokes on Twitter about whether it was a pot reference, with 420 being a common slang term for marijuana.

Musk's tweet came two weeks after Tesla revealed it had burned through $739.5 million in cash on its way to a record $717.5 million net loss in the second quarter, as it cranked out more electric cars.

Tesla has spent millions as it reached a goal of producing 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of June.

The company says production is rising, with the goal of 6,000 per week by the end of August.

Musk pledged earlier this month to post net profits in future quarters, and he said he expects to company to avoid returning to the markets for capital and to be self-funding going forward.

Musk's abrasive style has often been a source of friction with Wall Street.

Earlier this year, he caused a stir during a first quarter earnings call when he angrily cut off two analysts whose questions annoyed him.

The CEO apologized to those analysts during the second quarter call.

Musk's other company, aerospace firm SpaceX, is privately owned.

The sun shines off the rear deck of a roadster on a Tesla dealer's lot in Denver, Colorado. Source: Associated Press

Security breach at Germany's Frankfurt Airport prompts evacuation

Police evacuated part of a terminal at Germany's busiest airport overnight after a security official mistakenly allowed a French family that hadn't completed required security checks into a secure area.

Federal police stopped flights from boarding and kept passengers out of area A of Frankfurt Airport's Terminal 1 for about two hours because of concerns that at least one person had entered without being properly screened.

Police tweeted that the midday evacuation was prompted by a security assistant mistakenly allowing the French family of four into the secure area even though they were supposed to be subjected to a secondary screening.

The family was located, questioned and allowed to continue on its journey, the police added.

The terminal resumed operating as normal about two hours after the partial evacuation was imposed.

Lufthansa, Germany's largest airline, said around 7,000 passengers were affected by flight delays and cancellations and that it had booked 2,000 hotel rooms as a precaution in case people couldn't be put on later aircraft.

It said also that some flights had to leave Frankfurt empty so that they would be at their destination airports at the right time to keep on schedule.

It gave no estimate of the cost to the airline.

Police and passenger wait in hall of terminal 1 of the Frankfurt, Germany, Airport, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018 after parts of a terminal were evaucated over concerns that at least one person may have entered the facility's security area unchecked. (Boris Roessler/dpa via AP)
Police and passenger wait in hall of terminal 1 of the Frankfurt, Germany, Airport. Source: Associated Press


Rescue effort in Lombok turning to recovery operation as Indonesia earthquake death toll reaches 105

The rescue team had done everything it could to locate the body of man, who had been killed instantly when a massive earthquake collapsed his home Sunday night on the Indonesian island of Lombok.

They used hacksaws to cut a square into concrete wall. They used crowbars and dogs and a power drill. But by Tuesday afternoon, with the unmistakable stench of rotting flesh in the air, they were sweating and at their wits' end. The body of 60-year-old Abdul Malik, one of at least 105 people killed in the 7.0-magnitude quake, would have to stay under the rubble for a third day.

New Zealand holiday-makers have began to return home after the quake. Source: 1 NEWS

"It's taking far too long," said 50-year-old Masini, the victim's brother-in-law who watched more than a dozen helmeted emergency workers in orange jumpsuits drill into a thick layer of concrete.

The tragic scene underscored the challenges facing Indonesia's government as it struggles to deal with its latest natural disaster. The quake shattered homes and lives across this vast archipelago, displacing more than 84,000 people, according to disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.

The quake hit the island of Lombok just before midnight on August 5. Source: 1 NEWS

At least 4,600 foreign and Indonesian tourists also have been evacuated from three smaller islands off Lombok's coast so far, Nugroho said. The islets are renowned for their crystal clear waters that draw snorkelers and divers from all over the world.

But with not enough boats to evacuate tourists quickly and too few planes to fly them out of Lombok, many visitors were forced to wait for hours or camp on beaches and the floor of the international airport in Mataram.

On the winding roads running north from the airport, which lead to destroyed villages shadowed by tall palm trees, the disaster's impact was evident. Villagers fearing aftershocks could be seen camped by the thousands under makeshift blue tarpaulins held together with bamboo and sticks. Some held up simple cardboard signs begging for aid as ambulances and other vehicles raced by.

"We need food and water," said one. "Please donate," said another.

The international charity Oxfam said drinking water was scarce because of a recent spell of extremely dry weather in Lombok. Food, medical supplies, tarps and clothes are also urgently needed, it said.

By late Tuesday, the government appeared to be focused on finding bodies, and wherever possible, survivors.

Masini said his brother-in-law, Abdul Malik, who owned a small grocery store next to his home in Tanjung, was sitting in his living room with family when the catastrophe struck. Although his family managed to make it out, Abdul Malik was crushed by a thick concrete wall.

The rescuers are working "too slow," Masini said. "They should be bringing in heavy equipment to speed this up."

Aprintinus Titus, from the National Search and Rescue Agency, acknowledged they needed better tools. But he said "we will not give up until we pull him out of this rubble. We know how hard his family is suffering."

Damaged houses in the north of the Indonesian island of Lombok after the magnitude 6.9 earthquake.
Damaged houses in the north of the Indonesian island of Lombok after the magnitude 6.9 earthquake. Source: Associated Press