Sunday, 19 August, 2018

Tesla board evaluating CEO Musk's idea to take company private

Danny Moloshok  Reuters Danny Moloshok Reuters
Rhonda Young | 08 August, 2018, 21:24

Tesla Inc said on Wednesday its board is evaluating chief executive Elon Musk's idea of taking the company private after he brought the matter up for discussion last week.

On Wednesday morning, multiple members of Tesla's board of directors signed a statement that confirmed Musk was serious about taking Tesla private.

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Meanwhile, the United States - one of Canada's closest allies - has so far refused to wade into the row. A Saudi airline has also interrupted flights to the North American country.

Other board members mentioned in the statement included Robyn Denholm, Ira Ehrenpreis, Antonio Gracias and Linda Johnson Rice. In its statement, the board said the company's chief executive had "addressed the funding for this to occur". The board, they said, had met "several times" over the last week and was actively working to "evaluate" the proposal. 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.

Musk's tweets caused a flurry of activity in financial markets.

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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. Shares were down 3 percent in premarket trading after closing up 11 percent at $379.57 on Tuesday.

At Elon's target buyout price of $420 per share, that would put the company's outstanding share value at somewhere around $69 billion - two numbers that, given Elon's taste in jokes, are probably very intentional. This proposed route would also keep all Tesla employees as shareholders/investors in the company, while Tesla would adopt an ownership and governance structure similar to the current form of SpaceX. "And if you stay as a shareholder you get less information than before and you depend more and more on Elon Musk". In his first tweet he said funding was secured but provided no details. And as the stock price has climbed this year, so too have the bets against it. That last part is important, because Tesla's going to need a lot of it. "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".

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Names excluded from the board statement were Musk; his brother, Kimbal Musk; and Steve Jurvetson, a venture capitalist and early Tesla backer who's been on leave since past year.

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