Turns Out Musk Might Actually Be Serious About Taking Tesla Private

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During the conference call accompanying the results, Mr Musk said he expected the company to avoid going back to the markets for capital and to be "essentially self-funding on a go-forward basis". But later in the afternoon, trading in the stock was halted pending an official company announcement.

The tweets have added to speculation about Tesla, which is spending heavily as it ramps up production of its latest auto, the Model 3.

Musk detailed his proposal in a blog post on the company's website Tuesday, hours after stunning the company's followers by casually tweeting that he might take it private.

Musk tweeted that he hoped all current investors would remain were the company to go private.

"I'm trying to accomplish an outcome where Tesla can operate at its best, free from as much distraction and short-term thinking as possible, and where there is as little change for all of our investors, including all of our employees, as possible", Musk said.

Musk, however, did not elaborate on when the Tesla mini-car will hit the roads. Short sellers are speculators who effectively bet against the price of Tesla's shares, potentially adding to the volatility of Tesla's stock price and giving them a vested interest in seeing Tesla fail.

Mr Musk also previously used his Twitter account to joke that Tesla was going bankrupt in an April Fool's Day tweet and his stability was called into question last month after he called a British diver who helped rescue children from a Thailand cave a paedophile.

In contrast, private companies have a smaller number of shareholders-generally fewer than 2,000-and are not available for purchase on public markets. The tweets came not long after a report that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund has built a $2 billion stake in Tesla.

Trading for Tesla stock was re-activated fifteen minutes before the closing bell was rung, and the automaker closed the day up 12 percent, realizing a massive $6 billion+ appreciation in market capitalization.

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Mr Musk "has been running Tesla like a private company with publicly traded stock anyway so this deal makes some sense", Gartner analyst Mike Ramsey said.

In fact, Tesla has turned a narrow profit in only two quarters since it became a public company in 2010.

But Musk later on Tuesday seemed to confirm the plan, Tweeting that: "Investor support is confirmed". 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.

In his letter to employees, Musk also pointed to pressure from short sellers as a major downside to being a public company.

"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. He added that in the future, when Tesla reached a "phase of slower, more predictable growth", the firm could go public again.

Musk's relationship with shareholders and analysts has been rocky, to say the least.

A $420 share price would value the company at around $70bn.

"Our guess is there is a one-in-three chance he can actually pull this off and bring Tesla private", Munster said.

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