Tesla stock leaps after Elon Musk tweets about taking electric car company private

The entrepreneur wrote: 'Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.'

Ben Chu
Tuesday 07 August 2018 19:07
Comments
Tesla did not comment on whether Musk was serious
Tesla did not comment on whether Musk was serious

Elon Musk has said he is considering taking his electric sports car company Tesla off the stock market and into private ownership.

In a Tweet on Tuesday the billionaire entrepreneur wrote: “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.”

The Financial Times had earlier reported that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund had built a $2bn stake in the company.

Tesla stock, which was trading at $342, jumped, ending the trading day up 11 per cent at $379.57.

That left the market capitalisation of Tesla, which has been experiencing production difficulties and recently asked suppliers to refund some payments, at around $64bn.

A $420 share price would value the company at around $70bn.

Musk has a history of erratic tweeting, prompting some initial scepticism about whether the Tesla plan was serious.

Musk was recently forced to apologise after calling a British cave diver who helped rescue the trapped Thai schoolboys a “pedo”. He has also been embroiled in spats with journalists and analysts.

But Musk later on Tuesday seemed to confirm the plan, Tweeting that: “Investor support is confirmed. Only reason why this is not certain is that it’s contingent on a shareholder vote.”

And Tesla also released an email to its employees in which Musk argued going private would release the company from “wild swings in our stock price that can be a major distraction for everyone working at Tesla”.

Palo Alto-based Tesla, named after the physicist Nikola Tesla, went public in 2010.

In its second quarter results for 2018 the company posted $4bn of revenue and a loss of $717m.

Tesla also burnt through $430m in cash in the quarter, leaving $2.24bn remaining on its balance sheet.

Musk owns just under 20 per cent of the company’s stock.

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