Tesla CEO Elon Musk has shocked the financial world with a tweet saying he is considering taking the company private in a move that would pay $420 (£324.58 / €362.11) per share.
Tesla stock closed at $341.99 (£264.29 / €294.85) yesterday and rose rapidly following the announcement today. Trading was temporarily suspended, but Tesla stock closed at $379.57 (£293.33 / €327.25) which is an increase of nearly 11 percent.
Following the tweet, where Musk revealed he has already secured funding for the move, he sent an e-mail to employees explaining his reasons for wanting to go private. According to Musk, the decision isn’t final but he believes taking Tesla private would be the “best path forward.”
Part of the reason Musk believes this is the right thing to do is because Tesla faces increased scrutiny as a public company. As he explained “Being public … subjects us to the quarterly earnings cycle that puts enormous pressure on Tesla to make decisions that may be right for a given quarter, but not necessarily right for the long-term.” He went on to say wild swings in the company’s stock price can be a “major distraction for everyone working at Tesla, all of whom are shareholders.”
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
Musk went on to claim Tesla is the “most shorted stock in the history of the stock market” and this means there are “large numbers of people who have the incentive to attack the company.”
Musk added that he believes taking the company private would allow Tesla to better focus on its long-term mission. He cited SpaceX as an example and said it is “far more operationally efficient” because it is a private company.
While the decision isn’t set in stone, Musk layout out a provisional plan to take the company private. 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. He went on to say he hopes all shareholders stick with the company but, if not, this is their time to exit while still making a “nice premium.”
Musk went on to say the move isn’t be about amassing control for himself, rather eliminating the focus on “short-term thinking.”
The decision to go private would have to be approved by shareholders, but Musk believes taking Tesla private would be an “enormous opportunity for all of us.” He also suggested the move could only be temporary as he stated “once Tesla enters a phase of slower, more predictable growth, it will likely make sense to return to the public markets.”