Norway's Wealth Fund Issues Savage Burn On Tesla

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Save for some uplifting production news, Tesla Motors is still fighting an uphill battle. CEO Elon Musk’s earlier claim that the company would go private has gotten him into trouble with the Securities Exchange Commission — since it looks as if the automaker hasn’t procured the necessary funding to make that happen.

However it doesn’t appear as if Norway’s sovereign wealth fund will be the outlet to pick up that tab. Trond Grande, deputy CEO of the Norwegian fund, declined to say whether Tesla had approached the fund about going private. “We don’t have a view on that,” he said before adding “We want to be invested in companies that make money.”

That savage burn, reported by Bloomberg, sounds pretty definitive. If Tesla hasn’t approached Norway already, it certainly isn’t going to now.

Norway is Tesla’s third-biggest market and the country’s wealth fund is the world’s largest. It currently holds a 0.48 percent stake in the automaker worth about $253 million. Assuming Tesla goes private, the fund is likely to sell off its shares as standard protocol. But it’s legally allowed to stay invested if it wants.

“The priority is to try to preserve the value for the fund. That is the priority,” Grande said. “If that means that the fund will be invested in a company that has been delisted for a period of time, that could happen … But as a main rule, we will exit the investments as and when, or soon after, it has been taken off an exchange.”

In March the fund voted against Musk’s potential $2.6 billion payout. It also backed an initiative to have Musk removed as chairman in June, and supported one would have allowed investors to nominate their own directors.

That’s likely of little consequence to Elon at the moment, though. The SEC appears to have opened an inquiry related to Musk’s tweets about privatization and that’s likely weighing heavier on his mind right now. The company’s stock has also taken a serious hit.

[Image: Tesla]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Kosmo Kosmo on Aug 22, 2018

    Gotta love Norway with its huge subsidies for Tesla ownership. Funded by Norway's Wealth Fund. Which is funded by North Sea oil revenues.........

  • Felix Hoenikker Felix Hoenikker on Aug 23, 2018

    Yes, Elon is a nut case, but the product is real. I had lunch with an ex coworker two weeks ago. As we were leaving he showed me his new car - a white Tesla Model 3. Naturally we went for a spin up and down US 1 near Woodbridge, NJ. The performance of the 3 blew my socks off. I am a big fan of quiet power, and this thing is almost silent, and really fast especially from a stop. I never expected this kind of acceleration from a BEV passenger car. Now long term durability is another issue. Too early to tell, but out of the box the 3 is quite impressive to drive. At $50K it's a little pricey for my tastes for a commuter car, but I could see $35K when production catches up with demand or battery prices keep dropping.

  • YellowDuck Really surprised it's only 1/3. Lack of Android Auto would be a dealbreaker for me. At this point I might even say it needs to be wireless. I can't believe any manufacturer would still be trying to sell built in nav as like a $1500 option. Must sell it to people with flip phones.
  • Mike Beranek Great subject for a multi-part piece. There's a lovely DTS for sale near my work... does anyone have a year that the Northstar becomes buyable? I've heard both 2005 and 2007.
  • Parkave231 Looking forward to this deep dive, Corey. My '02 Deville was right on the cusp of when they "fixed" the head bolt issues, but I really don't know if mine was one of the improved ones. Still, it never gave me problems during ownership, aside from the stupid intake plenum duct issue, which was the one time I'll admit I bit off a little more than I could chew.Smooth engine, decent low-end torque for an OHC engine, and whisper quiet. I got great gas mileage out of it too. But how could GM ever screw up head issues on two V8s in a row?
  • Mike Beranek I wouldn't want to own this car. But I sure would love to borrow it.
  • CFS I can’t believe these comments aren’t 100% in favor of CarPlay/Android Auto. They don’t add much for music and other audio that you don’t get with just a Bluetooth connection, but they make navigation so so much better. Why is it better? Because inputting the destination address is so much easier. And I don’t need to think about updating my car’s maps. Plus, I can switch between Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps, or whatever else seems best suited for my trip. Hands-free calling features are OK, but not such a big deal for me.