Elon Musk retracts privatisation, Tesla to remain public

Anna Jefferson
August 28, 2018

Shares of Tesla were trading lower in Monday's session.

Wall Street Journal tech and autos reporter Tim Higgins and ARK investments analyst Tasha Keeney on the future of Tesla.

The Saudis were unhappy about Musk detailing his talks with the Kingdom's sovereign wealth fund in an August 13 blog post, where the CEO justified his earlier tweet about "funding secured" on their interest, the people said.

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He revealed the U-turn to board members during a meeting on the company's California factory floor, then made it public in a late-night blog post. "While we are always looking for highly talented executives at Tesla, there is no active COO search", a Tesla spokesperson said in an email.

First it was the shocking tweet that funding was secured and Tesla may go private.

"The key question is whether investors will continue to support a CEO who may potentially be involved in market manipulation and/or securities fraud as well as a company under SEC investigation", noted Cowen analysts, who believe the Tesla board should hire "a more operational CEO or at a minimum a COO with high volume automative experience". A Tesla spokesman on Sunday referred to those previous comments. Leaving ownership as is puts the scrutiny back on Musk's all-consuming work style, the company's tricky cash position, its ability to meet mass-market production goals, and the independence and oversight of Tesla's board. In a single tweet, Musk had people all over the world saying in dismay: Tesla is going private? How?

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"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".

"We see the company raising $2 billion in 4Q18, through convertible debt, which may prove a challenge if there still is an ongoing SEC case open", Cowen and Co analyst Jeffrey Osborne wrote in a client note.

Founder and CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk speaks during a media tour of the Tesla Gigafactory, which will produce batteries for the electric carmaker, in Sparks, Nevada, U.S. July 26, 2016. Musk said earlier this month the company's "default plan" would be to fund that expansion by borrowing money from Chinese banks.

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