Tesla said on Tuesday that the Justice Department had contacted the company for information after its chief executive, Elon Musk, abruptly announced that he had lined up funding to take the electric-car maker private.
The request for information appears to indicate that the department has opened an investigation into Mr. Musk’s market-moving Twitter post on Aug. 7 about the potential buyout.
Tesla said it received the information request last month and “has been cooperative in responding to it.” It released the statement after Bloomberg News reported that federal prosecutors had begun an investigation.
The Justice Department move comes as the Securities and Exchange Commission conducts a wide-ranging investigation into Tesla, including Mr. Musk’s tweet, in which he said he had “funding secured” to take the company private for $420 a share. That tweet blindsided Tesla’s board and ignited a rally in Tesla’s shares.
Mr. Musk said later that month that he was shelving the idea of converting Tesla into a private company.
Tesla said Tuesday that the Justice Department’s request was not a subpoena but rather a “voluntary request for documents.” The company added: “We respect the D.O.J.’s desire to get information about this and believe that the matter should be quickly resolved as they review the information they have received.”
Representatives of the Justice Department in Washington and the United States attorney’s office in San Francisco said they could neither confirm nor deny the investigation.
Tesla’s shares fell after the Bloomberg report shortly before noon and were down 4 percent in afternoon trading.
Matthew Goldstein and David Gelles contributed reporting.