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Elon Musk Makes $82 Billion Gambit to Silence Tesla Critics [bloomberg.com]
Seemingly out of the blue, Elon Musk proclaimed that he might pull his money-losing Tesla Inc. off the market. Taking the electric-car company private at the price he touted would amount to an $82 billion valuation, a monumental sum that left many investors wondering: Is this a joke? It wasn't.
[...] "The reason for doing this is all about creating the environment for Tesla to operate best," Musk, 47, wrote Tuesday in an email to employees. He said wild swings in the carmaker's stock price are a "major distraction" to Tesla workers, who are all shareholders. And he said that being public "puts enormous pressure on Tesla to make decisions that may be right for a given quarter, but not necessarily right for the long-term."
To take Tesla private, Musk would have to pull off the largest leveraged buyout in history, surpassing Texas electric utility TXU's in 2007. And Tesla doesn't fit the typical profile of a company that can raise tens of billions of dollars of debt to fund such a deal.
[...] "The market doesn't believe him," said David Kudla, the CEO of Mainstay Capital Management, which is betting against Tesla. "His credibility has come into question over a number of things. If this were real, you'd expect the stock to go closer to $420 a share than it has." Most major buyouts also require a trip to the junk bond markets, where Tesla has fallen out of favor.