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BREAKING: Tesla suspends shares after chief Elon Musk’s tweets

Tesla chief Elon Musk stunned investors Tuesday when he tweeted that he was considering taking the company private, sending its stock soaring more than 7 percent before trading was halted.

BBC's New York business correspondent Kim Gittleson has learned that Tesla's shares have been halted on the Nasdaq.

Musk said he had “funding secured” to take the all-electric automaker private at $420 a share, far above its current $360 stock price.

That would value the company — already the United States' most valuable automaker — at more than $70 billion.

Musk’s account tweeted: “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”

 

It isn’t clear what prompted the tweet. Mr. Musk has a history of joking on Twitter and sending erratic tweets.

BUt his subsequent tweets seemed be addressed directly to shareholders.

Then, Musk later twitted 'GOOD MORNING' with a smiley after an earlier tweet about taking Tesla private.

Tesla’s stock was up 5.6% at $361.15 in early afternoon trading, meaning it would need to climb a further roughly 16% to reach $420.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund has accumulated a roughly $2 billion stake in the company.

Meanwhile, Tesla has started hiring for new $2 bln Shanghai plant, according to a Reuters report.

Tesla Inc has started hiring for a new factory in Shanghai, according to job postings on its website, just a month after the US electric vehicle (EV) maker signed agreements with local authorities for the $2 billion project.

The website showed the automaker was looking to fill 14 roles, including architectural designer and senior finance manager for its Shanghai Gigafactory, which is expected to produce both electric vehicles and their batteries.

Most of the positions are senior in level and require at least six years' experience, the job descriptions showed.

Tesla did not respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

The 21st Century Herald, a Chinese business newspaper that reported the job postings on Tuesday, said Tesla began advertising the roles on Sunday.

Tesla signed agreements with Shanghai authorities last month to build its first factory outside the United States, which would double the size of its global manufacturing.

The automaker planned to produce the first cars about two years after construction began on the factory, ramping up to as many as 500,000 vehicles a year about two to three years later.

Those agreements followed the May hiring of James Zhou as Tesla's chief financial officer for China.

Chief Executive Elon Musk said on an earnings call this month the factory would cost around $2 billion and Tesla planned to fund the project with local debt.

Last week, in a letter to investors, the company said the first cars would begin to be built in about three years, or 2021.

But during a call with analysts, Musk gave a timeframe that did not match the letter to investors, saying the Shanghai plant would be key to its goal of producing 1 million vehicles per year by 2020.

Many analysts say that goal is unfeasible.

Tesla also posted the 14 job listings for the Shanghai Gigafactory on its U.S. website in English, suggesting some hires may come from outside China.