Car Industry

Here's why Elon Musk wants Tesla to go private

It's not set in stone just yet, but a new blog post at least helps explain where this idea came from.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Earlier today, Elon Musk did what he does best and set the internet ablaze -- this time, based on a tweet about potentially taking Tesla private again. His tweets didn't really explain why he wanted to do that, but a new email explains why.

Tesla posted a new blog to its site, essentially a copy-and-paste of an email Musk sent to Tesla's employees regarding taking the company private again. In short, he wants to minimize distractions and shift the focus from short-term to long-term.

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"[T]he reason for doing this is all about creating the environment for Tesla to operate best," the email reads. "As a public company, we are subject to wild swings in our stock price that can be a major distraction for everyone working at Tesla." He goes on to mention the quarterly earnings cycle and how that puts pressure on the company to focus on moves that would boost quarterly numbers while disregarding longer-term motives and outcomes.

Musk also made mention of the "shorts," investors who bet against Tesla succeeding in order to profit themselves. He claims Tesla is the most shorted stock "in the history of the stock market" and that going private would remove them from the narrative.

Elon is right -- going private would certainly reduce distractions surrounding the company's day-to-day activities, even if some of those concerns are valid.

Steven Ewing/Roadshow

Tesla's CEO also laid out what he envisions as the ideal path for going private. He wants every shareholder to have the option to stay with the company as private investors. That said, if they do want out, they can sell their shares at $420 per share, which is a fair bit higher than Tesla's current stock price ($382.67 at the time of writing, up from today's open price of $343.84).

Musk also wants Tesla's employees to remain shareholders. "Employees would still be able to periodically sell their shares and exercise their options," the email reads, likening their position to that of SpaceX's employees. Musk estimates that selling or buying opportunities would be possible once every six months or so.

The email also squashes two potential rumors. Musk explicitly notes that he does not intend to merge Tesla and SpaceX, and that the two companies will remain separate, even though the private-shareholder structure would be similar. He also stated that this is not an attempt to assume more control over his company -- Musk owns approximately 20 percent of Tesla right now, and he doesn't see that changing after the company goes private.

The whole thing isn't yet set in stone because it must be put to a shareholder vote. However, Musk expects the shareholders to agree with him and allow him to take the company private again. That vote will be worth keeping an eye on.