Tesla, after almost three weeks of flirting with going private, will stay public according to an 11:11PM Friday night blog post from the company’s CEO Elon Musk.
After consulting with the investment firms Silver Lake, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, as well as investors big and small, Musk broke the rationale down to three major components, quoted below from Tesla’s blog post:
Given the feedback I’ve received, it’s apparent that most of Tesla’s existing shareholders believe we are better off as a public company. Additionally, a number of institutional shareholders have explained that they have internal compliance issues that limit how much they can invest in a private company. There is also no proven path for most retail investors to own shares if we were private. Although the majority of shareholders I spoke to said they would remain with Tesla if we went private, the sentiment, in a nutshell, was “please don’t do this.”
I knew the process of going private would be challenging, but it’s clear that it would be even more time-consuming and distracting than initially anticipated. This is a problem because we absolutely must stay focused on ramping Model 3 and becoming profitable. We will not achieve our mission of advancing sustainable energy unless we are also financially sustainable.
That said, my belief that there is more than enough funding to take Tesla private was reinforced during this process.
The Tesla IR Website also posted a statement tonight confirming the board’s agreement:
Statement from Independent Members of Tesla’s Board of Directors (Brad Buss, Robyn Denholm, Ira Ehrenpreis, Antonio Gracias, Linda Johnson Rice, and James Murdoch):
PALO ALTO, Calif., Aug. 24, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Over the past several weeks, we put in place a process led by a Special Committee of the Board to evaluate a proposal Elon was considering to take Tesla private. Yesterday, we held a Board meeting, during which Elon reported on the work he and his advisors have been doing in connection with this effort. Elon communicated to the Board that after having done this work and considered all factors, he believes the better path is to no longer pursue a transaction for taking Tesla private. After discussing this, we dissolved the Special Committee. The Board and the entire company remain focused on ensuring Tesla’s operational success, and we fully support Elon as he continues to lead the company moving forward.
I’m glad this self-made distraction is over so that everyone can again focus on making Model 3s and Tesla’s upcoming products. I imagine this would have been better done as an internal process without all of the negative hype and news cycles questioning the CEO’s judgement.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
I don’t believe Elon’s Tweet was a 420 “Weed Tweet” but I also don’t think this one was particularly well thought out, especially the distraction it caused inside and outside the company. The “Funding secured” bit at the end particularly seemed to ruffle some feathers and the wild stock swings that ensued could still bring some shareholder/short lawsuits Tesla’s way.
Update: In an even shorter email to employees, Elon Musk gave a quick TL;DR:
From: Elon Musk
Subj. Staying Public
After giving this a lot of thought, I have come to the conclusion that the best path for the foreseeable future is for Tesla to remain a public company.
There are certainly a number of very compelling reasons to go private, so this is far from an obvious decision, but, on balance, being public appears to best serve the interests of the people of Tesla and those who have invested in our future.
Thanks for being awesome,
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