Musk says going private would free Tesla

Elon Musk

Munster predicted a one-in-three chance that Musk will actually take Tesla private.

The furor over Musk's tweets has led to a halt on $TSLA trading. Others interpreted the tweet as a joke, in specific Musk's reference to "420": a popularized reference to the consumption of cannabis by the marijuana culture. Beyond skyrocketing Tesla's valuation to over $70 billion at $420 a share, taking the company off of the public markets would relieve some of the pressures of having to report earnings and face volatility from traders, thus giving the company better financial footing. The company had a market value of $58bn as of Monday's close.

Musk said he has no intention of combining the electric vehicle maker and the private space company under one umbrella.

He tweeted minutes after it was reported that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund had taken a stake of up to 5pc in Tesla, a holding worth as much as $2.9bn (£2.2bn).

Shares jumped after Musk's first tweet, trading as high as $371.15 before giving back gains. CNBC also contacted a number of Wall Street banks and none of them was aware of any transaction or had committed to funding a leveraged buyout of Tesla. In a May earnings call, Tesla shares slipped after Musk derided "boring, bonehead" questions from analysts regarding the company's finances. Today's Tesla rally could make life more hard for shorts because brokers often ask shorts to put up more money when a stock they've shorted rises in value.

He also tweeted that his "hope is all current investors remain with Tesla even if we're private". Intentions to buy out public shareholders usually need to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC.

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The company is still working its way out of what Musk called "production hell" at its home factory in Fremont, California, where a series of manufacturing challenges delayed the ramp-up of production of its new Model 3 sedan, on which the company's profitability rests. (Musk said in his Tesla blog post that he held a 20 percent stake.) He said that if the plan goes forward, shareholders would cast the deciding vote.

Despite the unconventional method of disclosing such information, analysts took Musk at his word.

Musk - the company's top investor, with more than 20 percent of its shares - has long waged war against the short sellers betting the company's value will plummet.

Musk complains that Tesla is "the most shorted stock in the history of the stock market" and many people "have the incentive to attack the company".

Taking Tesla private would certainly qualify.

"His mission for Tesla (to accelerate the globe's adoption of sustainable energy) is both grand and long-term, making it hard to accommodate investors quarterly expectations", he wrote.

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