Elon Musk says 'the worst is over' for Tesla

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Tesla short sellers received a sizable payday hours after The New York Times published an eye-opening interview with an emotional Elon Musk, the electric-car company's chairman and CEO.

In the interview, Mr Musk revealed he had sacrificed family milestones in the race to meet Tesla production targets, almost missing his brother's wedding where he was best man.

'There were times when I didn't leave the factory for three or four days - days when I didn't go outside, ' he told the paper in an interview where he also dismissed claims he smoked weed.

'Is there someone who can do the job better?

Musk claimed in the interview that he had been working as many as 120 hours a week recently, saying that he has not had more than week off work since he was bedridden with Malaria in 2001.

Lawyers have warned that his tweet may have broken 14e-8 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which prohibits publicly traded companies from announcing plans to buy or sell securities if executives don't intend to complete, don't have the means to complete, or are trying to manipulate the stock price.

The Wall Street Journal also reports that the SEC is examining if Tesla misled investors about production problem for its Model 3 sedan.

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Tesla's board are also concerned about Mr Musk's use of the sleep aid Ambien, according to The New York Times.

Art Hogan, chief market strategist for B Riley FBR, said the interview "did not improve the image of the company or the CEO", while adding to uncertainty about Tesla's future.

In a separate report, The Wall Street Journal said securities regulators have been investigating if Tesla misled investors about production problems for its Model 3 auto.

Though Musk says that his tweeted ultimatum was definitely intentional, and that he has secured to funding to make it a reality, he understood that the 420 reference might make people assume the billionaire - who is known for being a bit of a troll - was joking.

"I thought the worst of it was over - I thought it was", he said.

The interview and other actions, Gordon said, are signs that Musk no longer can handle the CEO job.

"While this may be a governance issue it would be a very disappointing company issue because Elon Musk's vision and personality is so intertwined in the company".

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Shares of Electric vehicle maker Tesla have tumbled about 9 per cent after CEO Elon Musk conceded in a newspaper interview that job stress may be getting the best of him.

Musk blamed short-sellers, or investors that expected Tesla to lose value, as a large source of his stress. The figure $420 in the tweet made it more cryptic.

Musk acknowledged that no one read his Twitter post before he sent it, but said he did not regret it.

Musk feels that being a private company would allow Tesla to think long-term and focus less on quarterly results. He suggested replacing Mr Musk as CEO and keeping him on as a visionary chief technical officer.

Before taking a private jet to Nevada from his home in Los Angeles, Mr Musk tweeted: "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420".

The most substantial liability Musk may have incurred is paying damages to investors - in particular, short-sellers.

"This is why I referred to "funding secured" in the August 7 announcement", he said, referring to his surprise tweet on that date that he was thinking about taking Tesla private.

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"If you have anyone who can do a better job, please let me know", he told The Times.

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