Read Elon Musk’s post on why he’s keeping Tesla public

Simple maths.
Simple maths.
Image: Reuters/Joe Skipper
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Elon Musk has changed his mind. The Tesla CEO tweeted to the world on Aug. 7 that he was preparing to take his electric vehicle company private, sending investors and regulators scrambling.  But in a blog post posted late Friday night, Musk said he’d thought the better of it.

The contrite, and often uncharacteristically modest, post explains that Musk has been convinced that it’s not in the best interests of Tesla to go private. Musk appears to have accepted investors’ concerns that his proposal would make it extraordinarily difficult to buy out or bring along existing shareholders. “Additionally, a number of institutional shareholders have explained that they have internal compliance issues that limit how much they can invest in a private company,” Musk wrote. He also noted the practical and logistical hurdles that going private would involve. Instead, Musk vowed to focus on ramping up Model 3 production and Tesla’s profitability.

“I’m incredibly excited to continue leading Tesla as a public company,” Musk wrote. “It is a privilege.” He also sent an email to employees explaining his decision, according to CNBC.

You can read the entire Tesla blog post below.

Earlier this month, I announced that I was considering taking Tesla private. As part of the process, it was important to understand whether our current investors believed this would be a good strategic move and whether they would want to participate in a private Tesla.

Our investors are extremely important to me. Almost all have stuck with us from the time we went public in 2010 when we had no cars in production and only a vision of what we wanted to be. They believe strongly in our mission to advance sustainable energy and care deeply about our success.

I worked with Silver Lake, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, who have world-class expertise in these matters, to consider the many factors that would come into play in taking Tesla private, and to process all the incoming interest that we received from investors to fund a go-private transaction. I also spent considerable time listening to current shareholders, large and small, to understand what they think would be in the best long-term interests of Tesla.

Based on all the discussions that have taken place over the last couple of weeks and a thorough consideration of what is best for the company, a few things are clear to me:

  • Given the feedback I’ve received, it’s apparent that most of Tesla’s existing shareholders believe we are better off as a public company. Additionally, a number of institutional shareholders have explained that they have internal compliance issues that limit how much they can invest in a private company. There is also no proven path for most retail investors to own shares if we were private. Although the majority of shareholders I spoke to said they would remain with Tesla if we went private, the sentiment, in a nutshell, was “please don’t do this.”
  • I knew the process of going private would be challenging, but it’s clear that it would be even more time-consuming and distracting than initially anticipated. This is a problem because we absolutely must stay focused on ramping Model 3 and becoming profitable. We will not achieve our mission of advancing sustainable energy unless we are also financially sustainable.
  • That said, my belief that there is more than enough funding to take Tesla private was reinforced during this process.

After considering all of these factors, I met with Tesla’s Board of Directors yesterday and let them know that I believe the better path is for Tesla to remain public. The Board indicated that they agree.

Moving forward, we will continue to focus on what matters most: building products that people love and that make a difference to the shared future of life on Earth. We’ve shown that we can make great sustainable energy products, and we now need to show that we can be sustainably profitable. With all the progress we’ve made on Model 3, we’re positioned to do this, and that’s what the team and I are going to be putting all of our efforts toward.

Thank you to all of our investors, customers and employees for the support you’ve given our company. I’m incredibly excited to continue leading Tesla as a public company. It is a privilege.