But it has a larger, more damning implication: he probably didn't have funding secured, even in the most loose sense of the phrase.
Musk is on the verge of hiring Morgan Stanley because the bank excels in rounding up financing from a wide array of sources, according to a person familiar with the matter. Musk has already retained Goldman Sachs to advise his attempt at taking the company private, first announced in an August 7 tweet. Morgan Stanley will be brought in the same capacity -- to raise money for a potential deal.
Musk wouldn't need to hire Morgan Stanley if he had secured funding at this point. The board's special committee still hasn't retained an investment bank, and there is no indication anything will happen quickly with regard to a privatization, said two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.
Musk said in that tweet he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private at $420 a share. He followed that tweet up with a public statement on August 13 saying he'd met with the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund several times, which prompted him to tweet that he had secured financing. Musk is also using private equity firm Silver Lake as an adviser, which the New York Times reported could be interested in a private investment.