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Elon Musk tweets he may take Tesla private and shares roar

08 August 2018

They did come from Musk's verified Twitter account but it's possible that someone could have hacked the account and published the tweets to manipulate share value for personal gain.

What seemed like a joke at first may be serious and as the company's stock price went insane, trading had been halted.

Tesla has had more than its share of ups and downs over the past few months, due to an intense focus on production rates and sales figures for Tesla's mass-market Model 3 electric vehicle. Mr Musk's offer is 9 per cent higher than Tesla's peak closing price of $US385 reached almost a year ago.

"Am considering taking Tesla private at $420", Mr. Musk wrote. Often his erratic behaviour has drawn more attention than his struggles to shift Tesla from a niche luxury vehicle maker into a mainstream automotive company. On the other hand, many of Tesla's most passionate backers bought stock because they believe the price will eventually go to stratospheric levels.

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There's also a question of the funding Musk claims he has "secured".

Going private is one way to avoid close scrutiny by the public market as Musk and the company face those challenges.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tesla shares were already trading higher today because of a report in the Financial Times of a new stake from the Saudi Arabia sovereign wealth fund. At $420 a share, Tesla would have a market cap of around $71 billion.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk has sent out an email to employees explaining his plan-first disclosed in a cryptic tweet-to turn Tesla into a privately held company.

"Being public means that there are large numbers of people who have the incentive to attack the company", he wrote. It zoomed as high as $371 per share before trading was halted at $367 per share just after 2 pm EDT.

Before its recent rally, Tesla's share price had been in a downward spiral for much of the summer, as the company struggled to meet production targets for its midrange Model 3 sedan. It would require a shareholder vote, Musk said. During last week's quarterly recap, Musk raised the prospect of a turnaround from consistent losses to consistent profits in the current quarter, giving share prices a boost. He also said the quarterly financial requirements of being a public company "puts enormous pressure on Tesla to make decisions that may be right for a given quarter, but not necessarily right for the long-term".

"His mission for Tesla (to accelerate the globe's adoption of sustainable energy) is both grand and long-term, making it hard to accommodate investors quarterly expectations", he wrote. He also suggested the move could only be temporary as he stated "once Tesla enters a phase of slower, more predictable growth, it will likely make sense to return to the public markets".

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The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) allows companies to use social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter to announce key information in compliance with its "fair disclosure" rules, as long as investors are alerted about which social media outlets will be used to disclose such information.

Elon Musk tweets he may take Tesla private and shares roar