Tesla shares jumped after Chief Executive Elon Musk said he’s considering taking the electric car maker private.
Shares climbed more than 7 per cent before the Nasdaq suspended trading pending a formal announcement.
“Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured,” Musk said on Twitter, without disclosing the source of the funding.
Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2018
In a subsequent note to employees, Musk said a final decision had not yet been made.
At $420 per share, it would be the largest deal of its kind, valuing the company at around $80 billion.
Musk has frequently expressed dismay at Tesla’s treatment as a public company and has clashed with regulators, critics and reporters.
Going private is one way to avoid the intense scrutiny of the market.
In his blog, Musk complained that being a public company made Tesla “subject to wild swings in our stock price” as well as a “quarterly earnings cycle that puts enormous pressure on Tesla to make decisions that may be right for a given quarter, but not necessarily right for the long-term”.
He suggested that Tesla could be more like Musk’s rocket venture SpaceX, making it clear that there were no plans for the two companies to merge.
Tesla’s CEO added that he wanted employees to remain shareholders, and said he had no personal motive for the move.
Shareholders would need to approve a proposal to go private in a vote, for it to become effective.
As an electric car manufacturer and renewable energy developer, Tesla has grown big very fast. Its desire to be free from short-term market constraints to focus on the long term is understandable.
Musk has complained of “production hell” at Tesla’s California factory, and there have been delays in production of the new Model 3 sedan. The company also faces competition from European manufacturers such as Audi and Jaguar.
However, there has been some scepticism over Musk’s idea, with analysts questioning where the funding would come from. The CEO’s blog did not address this, but reports suggest an investment fund based in Saudi Arabia has bought a minority stake.
#EuronewsNow | Tesla’s chief executive Elon Musk has suggested that the electric car manufacturer may go private. @SandforAlasdair explains what going private could mean for the company.https://t.co/Rve1LoJ3Pb pic.twitter.com/5XvRPGBuUM
— euronews (@euronews) August 8, 2018