Elon Musk tweets he may take Tesla private

08 August, 2018, 05:01 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • Elon Musk at a Tesla

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday he is considering taking the company private, shocking investors and analysts who follow the maverick electric car-maker.

Musk is Tesla's largest shareholder, with an approximately 20 percent stake valued at about $12 billion, according to S&P Capital IQ.

The company had a market value of US$58 billion as of Monday's close. (Musk said in his Tesla blog post that he held a 20 percent stake.) He said that if the plan goes forward, shareholders would cast the deciding vote.

He said he was thinking about taking the electric auto company private, and already had the funding lined up.

Around 4AM AEST on Wednesday, trading of Tesla shares was halted for "pending news".

Or part of a conspiracy to save a failing company as the FUD headlines are exalting, sidestepping the responsibility that comes with owning a public company?

The bombshell proposal to take the electric auto maker private prompted regulators to take the unusual step early Tuesday afternoon of suspending trading in the company's stock.

"I believe Tesla considers Tweets as public disclosure".

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Musk's tweet came two weeks after Tesla revealed it had burned through $739.5 million in cash on its way to a record $717.5 million net loss in the second quarter, as it cranked out more electric cars. But after he called a hero diver who rescued children from a cave in Thailand a paedophile and seemingly meant it, it's best not to assume the CEO is joking.

Musk said in subsequent tweets that he would remain chief executive under a go-private transaction and that any deal would benefit shareholders. He says the move could be structured so that so that all shareholders will have a choice to remain investors in the private company or sell their stock for $420 (£324.58 / €362.11) per share. The stock had been worth about $342 a share before Musk's tweet, and shares quickly jumped as high as $371.

But asked if he would take legal action against Musk over the allegation, Unsworth said: 'If it's what I think it is yes'.

It was not clear if Musk was serious as he has a history of erratic tweets, and the company did not immediately respond to request for comment. He indicated that taking the company private would allow Tesla to focus on long-term ambitions and remove "perverse incentives for people to try to harm what we're all trying to achieve".

In his letter to employees, Musk also pointed to pressure from short sellers as a major downside to being a public company.

Scottish money manager Baillie Gifford, which recently urged Musk to focus less on tweeting and more on running the business, is the fourth-largest shareholder, with a almost 8% stake.

For example, one block of 714 Tesla call options, betting on the shares rising above US$365 by the end of the week, were bought for 85 cents, for a total outlay of US$60,690 on Tuesday.

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