Tesla Does Not Trade Like a Company About to Go Private

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Elon Musk went further to explain his tweet that Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) might go private. The comments have gotten him in trouble with the SEC and some investors. No matter what he has to say about the process, the market is skeptical. Tesla’s stock has not traded like a company that will be taken private at a premium to the current share price.

Musk wrote in a recent blog post:

Going back almost two years, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund has approached me multiple times about taking Tesla private. They first met with me at the beginning of 2017 to express this interest because of the important need to diversify away from oil. They then held several additional meetings with me over the next year to reiterate this interest and to try to move forward with a going private transaction. Obviously, the Saudi sovereign fund has more than enough capital needed to execute on such a transaction.

About his meeting with the Saudis on July 31, Musk said a deal “could be closed.” Since then, there are rumors that private equity interests also could participate in the process.

Musk further wrote that he believes that about two-thirds of current investors would want to remain investors in the private company. That means the estimates he would need $70 billion to close the transaction are wrong. The $420 share price for anyone wants to cash out would apply, therefore, to about a third of shareholders. That cuts the cost of the entire transaction to something below $25 billion.

Tesla’s share price is currently $356 and has dropped over 4% in the past five trading days. That by itself is a sign few investors are diving into the stock in anticipation that a deal at $420 a share is likely.