Musk's Plans for Tesla Depend on its Investors

August 10, 2018

By Bridgette Webb and Amanda Weston

Tesla's board is going ahead with its review of Elon Musk’s gambit to take the company private, though there's still lots of skepticism around the deal and its various backers.

"We still don't know who the backer is and what the deal structure will end up looking like," said Christian Prenzler, vice president of business development at Teslarati. "I definitely wouldn't bet against the deal's existence or the gravity it brings to what we know as Tesla on the NASDAQ."

Musk's plan, announced on Twitter on Tuesday, would take the electric carmaker private at a price of $420 a share. He's argued that Tesla would be less disruptive as a private company. It would also allow the company to escape the glaring spotlight of fluctuating stock prices, mounting questions on model 3 production goals and quarterly reports.

Investors may see an upside in such a move, according to Prenzler, and a number of potential backers have been rumored, including the Saudi Wealth Fund, Tencent and Softbank.

"It’s being pitched like an investment in a company like Uber," Prenzler said. "It’s a long-term plan. They’re betting on Musk making a million cars in a year. "

Still, Prenzler sees value in keeping Tesla public.

"It’s very healthy for a company to be public, to be under the public eye, to have a lot of accountability. And to be forced into really revealing a lot of information and going into some of these rough times," Prenzler said.

Jason Moser, an analyst at The Motley Fool, said in a separate interview with Cheddar that Musk's ambitions require "extremely long-term thinking," and may be more suitable for a private company.

"In order to be as successful as possible, I think he would rather be able to run this business without being held to sort of arbitrary guidelines perhaps that Wall Street throws out there on a quarterly basis," Moser said.

SpaceX, another one of Musk's companies, has been able to function out of the spotlight, allowing Musk to execute long-term planning.

"With Tesla, I love what he's doing. I think the world needs more of what they're doing, and I think that getting out of the public scrutiny and public markets would probably give him the best opportunity to go ahead and execute that," Moser said.

Like Prenzler, Moser thinks that Musk will get his way, eventually.

"When he wants something, he can get it because he's relentless," said Moser. "He keeps at it until he figures out a way, so if he really wants to take this business private, and it sounds like he does, I don't think he's going to have a problem getting there."

For more on this story, click here.