Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) is one of the most innovative technology companies in the world, focusing primarily on producing electric vehicles but also on design and energy. The company was founded in 2003 by Silicon Valley engineers who wanted to prove that electric cars could have power and torque along with zero emissions. In 2008, Tesla Motors launched its first car, the Roadster, which could accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour in under 4 seconds. Additionally, it had a range of 245 miles per charge of the car's lithium ion battery.

On August 7, 2018, Tesla made news when a tweet from CEO Elon Musk suggested that he wanted to take the company private and that he had secured funding to do so. What followed was confusion about Musk's plan and the status of the said funding and trading in Tesla shares was halted. While Musk clarified later that he was actively evaluating the option, no final decision had been taken and such a move could only be made possible pending a shareholder vote. Over the next few days more contradictory reports emerged about the source of funds for such a buyout.

In a memo on August 13, 2018, Musk clarified that he had had a number of talks with the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia to take Tesla private. The fund has previously invested in the company and bought nearly 5% of Tesla shares according to Musk.

The following are the top individual shareholders of Tesla.

1. Elon Musk

Visionary Elon Musk is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Tesla Motors and Space Exploration (SpaceX) Technologies. Musk was born in South Africa and attended the University of Pennsylvania before beginning his graduate studies at Stanford University. However, Musk dropped out to start a multitude of companies, such as Zip2 and X.com (later known as Paypal), which he sold to Compaq and eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), respectively. Next, Musk founded SpaceX and co-founded Tesla and SolarCity, a renewable energy company.

As of June 12, 2018, Musk reportedly owned 33.7 million shares of Tesla, held indirectly through a trust. This makes him the largest shareholder, both among institutions and individuals. On March 21, 2018, shareholders of Tesla approved a performance-based stock option award to purchase 20.3 million shares for Musk. As of August 7, 2018, Musk has an estimated net worth of $21.2 billion.

On June 5, 2018, Tesla held a shareholders meeting and one of the topics discussed was Musk's role as chairmen of Tesla. Musk managed to convince his fellow shareholders to keep him on board. 

2. Jeffrey B. Straubel

Jeffrey Straubel serves as the chief technology officer (CTO) of Tesla Motors. He holds a bachelor's degree in energy systems engineering and a master's degree in engineering from Stanford University. Straubel is a co-founder of Tesla and has managed the engineering and technical design of the electric vehicles, which was primarily focused on motor, battery, software subsystems and power electronics. According to his SEC filing on Dec. 31, 2017, Straubel held 634,129 shares of Tesla, making him the second largest individual shareholder. This figure includes 307,776 share options, and 136,566 shares pledged as collateral against debts.  

3. Deepak Ahuja

Deepak Ahuja has been chief financial officer (CFO) of Tesla, Inc. since March 2017. He served as the CFO of Tesla Motors, Inc. since July 2008 until November 2015 and served as its principal accounting officer. Previously, Ahuja spent 15 years experience at Ford Motor Company. He served as Controller for small cars product development program of Ford from August 1993 to July 2008. Ahuja holds 38,989 shares of Tesla indirectly through a trust, and directly holds 22,070 shares as of June 5, 2018.

Ahuja holds an M.S.I.A. (which was subsequently redesignated as an M.B.A.) from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. degree in Materials Engineering from Northwestern University, and a B. Tech in Ceramic Engineering from Banaras Hindu University in India.

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