Tesla CEO Elon Musk made waves earlier this week, when he publicly mused about the possibility to take the company private. In a tweet on Tuesday, Musk said he was “considering taking Tesla private at $420”, adding that he had already secured funding for a potential buyout. In an email to employees published by Tesla later the same day, Musk explained the rationale behind his considerations:
“As a public company, we are subject to wild swings in our stock price that can be a major distraction for everyone working at Tesla, all of whom are shareholders. Being public also 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. Finally, as the most shorted stock in the history of the stock market, being public means that there are large numbers of people who have the incentive to attack the company.”
Tesla’s shares have indeed been highly volatile in the last 12 months, dropping from $389 in September 2017 to $248 in April and climbing back to $380 on Wednesday. Musk’s announcement that shareholders would get $420 a share in a potential buyout, naturally sent the stock soaring 11 percent on Tuesday. This in turn got the attention of the SEC, who demanded a statement from Tesla and may now be looking into whether Musk’s tweet can be considered stock price manipulation. If Tesla really does go private, it would be the largest such deal in history. According to Dealogic, the deal would be valued at around $72 billion.
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