Elon Musk is seriously considering taking Tesla private

Kenny Grant
August 8, 2018

Elon Musk shocked Tesla investors - and the Twittersphere - on Tuesday by announcing on the microblogging site that he wants to take his company private.

Musk is Tesla's largest shareholder, with an approximately 20 percent stake valued at about $12 billion, according to S&P Capital IQ. Before Musk's tweet, Tesla had a market value of $58 billion, already higher than that of General Motors or Ford, even though those companies are significantly larger and more profitable.

On April Fool's Day, Mr Musk, who owns nearly 20% of the company, joked on Twitter about Tesla going bankrupt.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, in true Elon Musk fashion, took to Twitter to think out loud about his electric vehicle business. Funding secured."Musk's tweet followed a report from the Financial Times that the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia had acquired a $2 billion stake in the company". By going private, Tesla will lose that convenient source of financing, something that could cause massive headaches if the company continues to burn through cash as much as it has in recent years, Ramsey said.

Musk has every incentive to try to either drive up the stock price or eliminate the need for public reporting on sales and finances by taking the company private.

A deal at $420 per share represents a 22.8pc premium to Tesla's closing price on Monday, valuing the company at about $72bn.

Tesla Motors started selling its stock to the public in 2010 - the first initial public offering of a USA automaker in more than a half-century.

Tesla did not return repeated calls for comment from CNBC, nor did the Securities and Exchange Commission, as of this publishing. ("Yes", Musk replied.) He expressed hope that current investors would stay with the company, later adding that shareholders could either "sell at [$420] or hold shares & go private".

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Bullish on the performance and increased production of "Model 3" cars, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is now planning to introduce a mini-car.

Now the question is, is this a similar move, taking the pressure off the public performance that Musk disdains each quarter, combined with some hubris over decimating the multitude of short positions.

In a second tweet on Tuesday, Mr Musk said taking the company private would not lead to a single dominant shareholder.

Musk's tweets, though, might present a bigger problem. I think he's serious.

He also said that he would hold on to his almost 20% stake in the company if it were taken private, and that he wouldn't expect himself or any other investor to have a controlling vote after the buyout.

"Details, structure, participants and how the valuation has been determined remain to be seen".

Tesla has been the subject of a number of short sales by investors - who feel the money-losing company doesn't have a path to profitability and that its shares will tumble.

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