Tesla stock takes a knock after Elon Musk's New York Times interview

Elon Musk

Tesla shares fell this week on reports by Fox Business and the Times that the US Securities and Exchange Commission has subpoenaed Musk to talk about the tweet.

Elon Musk has acknowledged exhaustion from overwork as he deals with the aftermath of a market-rattling tweet on taking Tesla private - a mess that worsened with reports that United States regulators subpoenaed him over the statement. 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".

The most substantial liability Musk may have incurred is paying damages to investors - in particular, short-sellers. He just wanted to offer a 20 per cent premium on Tesla's price at the time, which would have been $US419 ($576). "But from a personal pain standpoint, the worst is yet to come".

Yet he told the newspaper that he has no plans to give up his dual role as Tesla's chairman and CEO. Musk agreed not to tweet again on the possible transaction without discussing it with the board, the spokeswoman said. "Why would I?" he said, when journalists asked if he rued tweeting his intentions.

The drug can cause a series of side effects including a unusual combination of sleep walking and amnesia and some board members believe this could contribute to Mr Musk's late-night Twitter seasons, according to The Times.

"It seemed like better karma at $420 than $419", said Musk, not exactly dispelling the idea.

My guess is that most people who read the whole Times article will reach the same conclusion I have that Musk clearly has not: this man seriously needs to learn how to delegate, and now.

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"It is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien". Musk said he didn't receive complaints from Tesla's board regarding it.

The 47-year-old entrepreneur and engineer said this week he believes two-thirds of existing Tesla shareholders would roll over their holdings into a private company, rather than cash out, and that he was still talking with major shareholders and advisers before settling on a structure for a deal.

He attributed a lot of his stress to short-sellers who bet against Tesla's stock, saying he's preparing himself for "at least a few months of extreme torture from the short-sellers, who are desperately pushing a narrative that will possibly result in Tesla's destruction".

For now, it looks like Musk is staying in his job, despite speculation earlier this year that he'd be ousted (and, apparently, his own desire to leave): "If you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know". They can have the job.

They can force Musk to step down, take a leave of absence, or delegate some responsibilities to other executives. Is there someone who can do the job better?

"Musk also expressed a desire to improve production to the point where Tesla can make two cars at once", said the report. He suggested replacing Mr Musk as CEO and keeping him on as a visionary chief technical officer. As we reported yesterday, Tesla's legal team has determined that the fallout from Musk's tweets could cost the company millions in legal fees and potentially billions in damages from investor lawsuits. Tesla's cars are wildly popular and the world would miss them if the shorts prove right.

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