What is the world-famous entrepreneur Elon Musk’s next big idea? He wants to convert Tesla, the carmaker, into a private company.
It was on the 7th of August that Elon Musk stunned investors with this tweet:
He said that he had already safeguarded funding and would purchase Tesla shares at 420 dollars, a 25% premium. If Musk’s plan would succeed he would need shareholders’ approval, but once he published his tweet the Tesla stock was spiking up with 9%. For more than an hour trading Tesla stocks were halted, and by the end of the day it had finished up 11% at 379 dollars. Tesla is currently the most valuable car manufacturer in the US and has been a hot topic for investors and Wall Street.
Tesla currently has liquidity problems while struggling to produce the Tesla Model 3. Investors have been worried that Tesla might need to sell more shares for further funding, but Musk has stated that there should be no need.
Elon Musk does not want to run a public company. The founder has clashed repeatedly with critics, especially short sellers who bet against the company and wish for the stock to go down. In Musk’s open letter to his employees, he further explains that taking Tesla private would allow everyone to focus, and not be distracted by the wild swings of the stock price. Furthermore, being a public traded company puts a lot of pressure on the quarterly reports and earning cycles, which forces Tesla to make decisions for a given quarter, but not for the long-run. (Read the full letter here.)
What Musk is trying to accomplish is an environment where the company can operate at its best. An environment without distractions and limiting the short-thinking as much as possible. He claims it is the “best past forward” and he would avoid the glare of Wall Street.
However, some analysts are uncertain about what would become the largest buyout in modern history. Elon Musk claimed funding for the deal is secure but did not provide details on what methods. He owns about 20% of Tesla, and he hoped he could protect the company from distracting swings of share prices and pressure from the quarterly reports. Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is another big holder, owning approximately 3-5% stake in the company. Analysts also point out that if he does not have a solid foundation for his statement Musk might fall in trouble with regulators for stock price manipulation. Totally, it would cost Musk 71 billion dollars to acquire Tesla at 420 per share. Before his tweet, it would ‘only’ have cost him 58 billion.
But, after many days of speculation and contradicting report, Musk broke his silence and explained that he has been talking to Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund for the past weeks to finance the massive deal. He had left the meeting with the Saudis on July 31 “with no question that a deal … could be closed – it was just a matter of getting the process moving.” Elon does not want to raise further debt but wants to execute the transition through equity. It is still uncertain if Musk’s explanations will calm federal regulators, who are looking into his recent misleading statements from last weeks.
Just as an end note, Elon has already stated he was not on weed when he made his statement (the 420 reference). Either way, the future for Tesla looks bright and Elon Musk will continue to achieve his missions.