Turns Out Musk Might Actually Be Serious About Taking Tesla Private

Elon Musk at a Tesla

Elon Musk has been embroiled in a war of words on social media with critics of the electric car company

At $420 per share, it would cost about $71 billion to take Tesla private.

The company had a market value of US$58 billion as of Monday's close. Factoring in $US8.8 billion ($11.9 billion) in debt, Musk's ganja-friendly target price to go private would value the company at around $US80 billion ($107.8 billion).

In this photo, taken September 29, 2015, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors Inc., talks about the Model X vehicle at the company's headquarters, in California.

At that price, the buyout would cost almost $72 billion, based on Tesla's outstanding stock as of July 27, but it's unlikely the deal would cost that much because Musk owns a roughly 20 percent stake in the Palo Alto, California, company. In his blog post, he said the shorts had "perverse incentives" for trying to harm the company.

Tesla stock was halted for more than an hour and a half and resumed trading up 11 percent to $380.60 as of 3:49 p.m.in NY.

Depending on the follow-through, or lack thereof, Musk's statements could cause problems with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

While the decision isn't set in stone, Musk layout out a provisional plan to take the company private.

While Twitter users had questioned whether the $420 price was real - the number is a slang term for marijuana - he confirmed that it was about a 20 percent premium over Tesla's share price after its second-quarter earnings.

The tweet spurred a rush of trading in Tesla's options, driving volume to 500,000 contracts, more than twice the daily average, according to options analytics firm Trade Alert.

The CEO wrote in a letter to employees Tuesday, revealing that he is genuinely considering moving Tesla off the public stock markets.

In a blog post on Tesla's website, Mr. Musk said taking Tesla private, in what analysts expect could be the largest leveraged buyout in US history, would allow the company to ignore the pressures of the stock market and focus on long-term plans.

Bullish on the performance and increased production of "Model 3" cars, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is now planning to introduce a mini-car.

Musk said all current shareholders would have the choice to remain as investors in the private company, and that employees would remain shareholders.

Going private, Musk said, would end "negative propaganda from shorts", referring to his hated short-sellers. "Plus this is short squeeze rocket fuel after a nice quarter", said analyst Chaim Siegel from Elazar Advisors.

Musk's tweet isn't a clear violation of SEC rules, but it could be if it was explicitly meant to boost Tesla's price.

On April Fool's Day, Mr Musk joked on Twitter about Tesla going bankrupt. I think he's serious.

He also said he would not sell his stake.

As the matter unfolds, some are questioning whether or not the tweets are authentic.

"Details, structure, participants and how the valuation has been determined remain to be seen".

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