Tesla wants to go private

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

(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.

Earlier in the day, the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund had built an undisclosed stake of between 3% and 5% in Tesla.

The broader timing of the tweet is also suspect, given Musk's recent public denunciations of Tesla's (equally vocal) critics.

Tesla stock closed at $341.99 (£264.29 / €294.85) yesterday and rose rapidly following the announcement today. Taking Tesla's shares out of public markets would make it much more hard for people to engage in short selling of Tesla's stock.

Elon now owns about 20 percent of Tesla and so he would need something like $50 billion in additional capital to fully privatize the company, along with a shareholder vote of "yes" to the move. The company had a market value of $58 billion as of Monday's close.

The SEC has brought charges in the past in at least one case in which a man was accused of manipulating stock prices with false tweets and taking advantage of the reduced prices. "I'd like to apologize for, you know, being impolite on the prior call", he said. "Funding secured", Mr Musk said on Twitter. About an hour and 20 minutes after the Musk tweet, trading in Tesla stock was suspended because the company was expected to release news.

Shares were pummeled in May after Musk abruptly cut off questions from Wall Street analysts over Tesla's spending plans. Musk argues that this has allowed SpaceX to be far more "operationally efficient".

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Here's what I envision being private would mean for all shareholders, including all of our employees. "My hope is for all shareholders to remain, but if they prefer to be bought out, then this would enable that to happen at a nice premium", he said.

Third, the intention is not to merge SpaceX and Tesla.

The memo included some of the details Musk had tweeted earlier in the day; investors could stay in or be bought out at $420 a share, and shareholders would have an opportunity to sell or buy every six months.

Tesla said in a regulatory filing in 2013 that investors interested in keeping up with Tesla should follow Musk's account.

"This has nothing to do with accumulating control for myself", Musk wrote.

He goes on to mention the quarterly earnings cycle and how that puts pressure on the company to focus on moves that would boost quarterly numbers while disregarding longer-term motives and outcomes.

His US$12b Tesla stake would presumably be rolled into the private enterprise. Either way, the future is very bright and we'll keep fighting to achieve our mission.

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