January 28, 2019 / 5:06 PM / in 2 months

Saudi Arabia's PIF slashes exposure to Tesla: FT

A Tesla car is seen in Santa Monica, California, United States, October 23, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has slashed its exposure to Tesla Inc, the Financial Times reported on Monday, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The sovereign fund, with help from JPMorgan Chase, hedged most of its 4.9 percent stake in Tesla after the market closed on Jan. 17, FT reported here

On Jan. 18, Tesla said it would cut thousands of jobs to rein in costs as it plans to increase production of lower-priced versions of its crucial Model 3 sedan, sending its shares down as much as 10 percent.

As part of the hedging program, PIF will still hold the shares but with little exposure to the stock’s movements, according to the report.

The derivative used to put on the hedge is known as an equity collar, which are bespoke instruments that are costly to finance and have become popular with Middle Eastern and Asian investors, the newspaper said.

Tesla and PIF each declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Tesla’s shares, which fell as much as 3 percent, ended marginally lower at $296.38 on Monday.

Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said in August that the PIF had expressed support for a $72 billion deal to take the company private.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in its suit, however, had said that the meeting between Musk and the fund “lacked discussion of even the most fundamental terms of a proposed going private transaction”.

Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma and Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

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