Elon Musk says he’s considering taking Tesla private

National/World News
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Elon Musk said he’s thinking about taking Tesla private.

Musk, the CEO and largest shareholder of the electric car maker, said on Twitter on Tuesday that he has secured funding from a private buyer.

He implied that the funding values the company at $420 a share. The stock had been worth about $342 a share before Musk’s tweet, and shares quickly jumped as high as $371.

The stock had climbed slightly earlier in the day after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia has quietly built a big stake in Tesla.

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Musk followed his tweet with a second post, 40 minutes later, that said simply, “Good morning,” with a smiley emoji.

Tesla has burned through cash while struggling to produce the Model 3, its lowest-priced electric car. The stock has fallen over the past year as the company’s losses have mounted.

Musk has also clashed repeatedly with stock market critics, especially investors who have taken short positions on the stock, meaning they benefit when the price falls. He clashed with analysts on a contentious call after Tesla reported earnings three months ago.

At $420 per share, it would cost about $71 billion to take Tesla private. Before Musk’s tweet, Tesla had a market value of $58 billion, already higher than that of General Motor or For, even though those companies are significantly larger and more profitable.

In fact, Tesla has turned a narrow profit in only two quarters since it became a public company in 2010. Musk has vowed that the company start turning a regular profit in the second half of this year.

Musk holds a stake of about 20% in Tesla, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon. Mutual fund giants T. Rowe Price and Fidelity are the second-largest owners, with stakes of more than 9% and 8%, respectively.

Scottish money manager Baillie Gifford, which recently urged Musk to focus less on tweeting and more on running the business, is the fourth-largest shareholder, with a nearly 8% stake. Chinese tech giant Tencent owns almost 5%.

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