Elon Musk tweets he may take Tesla private

Posted August 08, 2018

"Funding secured", Musk tweeted at 12:47 p.m. - with Tesla shares trading hands at about $356.67.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, hours following a tweet that set the industry abuzz saying he is considering taking his company private, on Tuesday said "I think this is the best path forward" - adding that "a final decision has not been made".

Musk has also clashed repeatedly with critics, especially investors who have taken short positions on the stock, meaning they benefit when the price falls.

Musk expounded on the idea in an email sent to Tesla employees today, which has since been published on the Tesla website. The stock then plunged to as low as $244.59 in April as the company struggled to meet production targets for its Model 3 sedan and Moody's Investors Service cut Tesla's credit rating deep into junk-bond territory. The numbers from the report indicate that the PIF, which has more than $250 B in assets, has a stake of between $1.7 B and $2.9 B at Tesla's current share price.

(Easy come, easy go.) More importantly, were Musk able to take Tesla from a publicly to privately owned company, Tesla would be worth about $71 billion, roughly the same as century-old Daimler, parent of Mercedes-Benz.

While Twitter users had questioned whether the $420 price was real - the number is a slang term for marijuana - he confirmed that it was about a 20 percent premium over Tesla's share price after its second-quarter earnings.

"I fundamentally believe that we are at our best when everyone is focused on executing, when we can remain focused on our long-term mission, and when there are not perverse incentives for people to try to harm what we're all trying to achieve", he wrote.

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He also said he would not sell his stake.

However, Mr Musk has said he has no plans to do so and promised that the firm will be profitable in the second half of the year, barring any unforeseen events. Intentions to buy out public shareholders usually need to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC.

Going private, Musk said, would end "negative propaganda from shorts", referring to his hated short-sellers.

Musk claimed on his personal Twitter account to have secured funding for the maneuver, estimating the per-share valuation of the possible transition at $420. He also notes that Tesla would likely go public in the future after entering a "phase of slower, more predictable growth".

Such a deal, if it went ahead, would take Tesla out of the glare of Wall Street but might limit its access to capital.

At $420 a share, a buyout of Tesla would cost about $71 billion.

Mr Musk has long raged against short sellers and mentioned his desire to be rid of them as one of his reasons for taking Tesla private.

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