Elon Musk says taking Tesla private is 'best path forward'

Danny Moloshok  Reuters

Danny Moloshok Reuters

Ironically, Tesla's shares shot up by 11% following his tweet.

Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi said Musk's statements puts Tesla under pressure to detail how it intends to proceed with the deal to go private.

Elon Musk disrupted multiple industries on Tuesday when the Tesla CEO [NYSE: TSLA] took to Twitter to float the idea of taking the Silicon Valley automaker private. He said funding was "secured", without elaborating. "This included discussion as to how being private could better serve Tesla's long-term interests, and also addressed the funding for this to occur", the statement said.

It's also unclear how Musk came up with the $420 price.

Elon Musk's tweets early on Tuesday caused plenty of speculation and controversy. He wants every shareholder to have the option to stay with the company as private investors.

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Tesla spokesmen didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Most analysts were skeptical, but some said a deal could materialize if Musk succeeded in lining up the right funding.

"Who gives $30 to $50 billion to buy back the shares?" asked NordLB analyst Frank Schwope. Many initially thought it was Elon Musk's attempt at a bad joke about marijuana, because "420" has always been associated with pot.

The deal would be the biggest leveraged buyout of all time, beating the $45-billion record set by Texas power utility Energy Future Holdings.

Board members said that Tesla boss Elon Musk and had held several meetings about the move in the past week. The company already has a $2 billion investment from Saudi Arabia's sovereign fund as well as Tencent, which took a 5 percent stake in 2017.

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The company, which is losing money and burning through cash reserves, has not revealed how it plans to raise more than $70bn it needs to offer shareholders the $420 per share that Musk indicated.

He said that would allow Tesla to "operate at its best, free from as much distraction and short-term thinking as possible".

On Tuesday morning, Musk emailed a statement to Tesla employees.

The move to take the company public would remove Musk, who himself has a 20 percent stake, from the public arena - and contentious criticism. Musk has feuded publicly with regulators, critics, short sellers and reporters, and some analysts suggested that less transparency would be welcomed by Musk.

Musk, his brother Kimbal and director Steve Jurvetson were not included in the statement from members Brad Buss, Robyn Denholm, Ira Ehrenpreis, Antonio Gracias, Linda Johnson Rice, and James Murdoch.

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