Newcastle United Saudi owners PIF roped into Elon Musk Tesla legal battle

Elon Musk says a ‘handshake’ agreement with PIF over the privatisation of Tesla was the evidence for a series of tweets.

Newcastle United owners, the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), have been roped into an ongoing Elon Musk legal battle over Tweets shared about Tesla.

A jury heard opening arguments on Wednesday in a trial over tweets sent by Musk claiming he had "funding secured" to take his company Tesla private back in 2018.

The lawsuit has come about after investors accused Musk of artificially boosting the company's stock price with the tweets, when a deal never materialised. Shareholders say the posts caused them financial losses due to the effect on Tesla shares.

The posts caused Tesla stock prices to rise 11% up and Musk says he wrote the messages after conversations with the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund - who of course owns Newcastle United. The businessman claims a 'handshake' agreement to privatise the company was in place. Earlier court hearings had heard the relationship between Musk and PIF head Yasir al-Rumayyan had deteriorated over text messages.

In the case, jurors will have to decide whether Musk knowingly misled investors and whether damages are owed.

It is reported that Musk's legal team is seeking testimony Yasir al-Rumayyan and other PIF members. PIF has filed to block the request, claiming that the San Francisco court cannot force Saudi representatives to appear.

Newcastle United non-executive chairman and chair of PIF Yasir Al-Rumayyan. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The Saudi Public Investment Fund completed the takeover of Newcastle United in October 2021 to become co-owners alongside PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers.

The £300 million takeover ended Mike Ashley's controversial 14-year ownership of the club. Speaking at the time, Al-Rumayyan said: "We are extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of the most famous clubs in English football.

"We thank the Newcastle fans for their tremendously loyal support over the years and we are excited to work together with them."