Wall Street sees funding hurdle to Musk's plan to take Tesla private

Flags fly over the Tesla Inc. Gigafactory 2 which is also known as RiverBend a joint venture with Panasonic to produce solar panels and roof tiles in Buffalo New York

Tesla board mulls de-listing plan

"Funding secured", the message from Musk, sent out nonchalantly on Tuesday afternoon, stated.

Tesla shares fell as much as 3.4 per cent to US$366.52 before the start of regular trading, though they pared declines after the board statement.

Musk said in a series of tweets that he had the funding and investor support.

Tesla's board, a nine-member group that includes Musk's younger brother Kimbal, issued a belated statement Wednesday morning saying Musk had "opened a discussion" last week with the board about the benefits of taking Tesla private.

Musk took Tesla shareholders and the stock market by surprise on Tuesday by announcing on Twitter he was considering taking the loss-making electric car-maker private at $420 United States a share.

Elon Musk is betting that a privately held Tesla Inc. would free his company of distracting scrutiny.

Musk has some sensible reasons for going private. Musk has feuded publicly with regulators, critics, short sellers and reporters, and some analysts suggested that less transparency would be welcomed by Musk. None of those firms would comment about Musk's proposal, but it's not clear that every investor would be on board.

While Tesla's board of directors might approve Musk's idea of taking the automaker private, current shareholders have the final say. In its statement, the board said the company's chief executive had "addressed the funding for this to occur".

Chinese exports accelerate as USA prepares new tariffs
The United States will begin collecting 25 percent tariffs on another $16 billion in Chinese goods on August 23, the U.S. Trade Representative's office said on Tuesday as it published a final tariff list targeting 279 imported product lines.

Tesla may find it hard to line up banks and investors to lend it large sums.

One Tesla shareholder said he thought a deal to take Tesla private was doable.

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.

Tesla stock, which has been on the rise for days, skyrocketed after the tweet and ended Tuesday up 11%.

Some companies have indeed done better after going private (though there are plenty of examples of those that have gone on to flounder).

The company has $2.2 billion in cash and $9.5 billion in debt. That's a key reason why Michael Dell chose to list shares of Dell Technologies (DVMT) on Wall Street again after taking the company private in 2013.

Some Wall Street analysts were skeptical of Musk's ability to gather the huge financial backing to complete such a deal, given that Tesla loses money, has $10.9 billion (8.5 billion pounds) of debt and its bonds are rated junk by credit ratings agencies.

"They're being bombarded with questions that we don't think are as relevant to the long-term value of the company", said Sam Korus, an analyst for ARK Investment Management, which had 443,874 Tesla shares as of June 30. Some might argue that it was improper, and perhaps even illegal, for Musk to make such an announcement on social media because people who follow Elon Musk on Twitter had an unfair advantage over investors who don't.

Latest News