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Elon Musk tweets he’s thinking about taking Tesla private

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CEO Elon Musk is thinking about taking the company private, he said in a Tweet this morning. More specifically, he said he may buy back the company for $82 billion (at a share price of $420 plus debt), and already has the funding to do so, reported TechCrunch.

Following the original tweet, Musk said he doesn’t have a controlling vote now and “wouldn’t expect any shareholder to have one if we go private.”

Musk’s hope, he later tweeted, is that “all current investors remain with Tesla even if we’re private. Would create special purpose fund enabling anyone to stay with Tesla. Already do this with Fidelity’s SpaceX investment.”

Musk, who said he would stay on as CEO, also seems willing to have a provision for retail investors, who have held Tesla shares prior to Dec. 31, 2016, to convert their shares into private shares. Musk, in response to a tweet, said he’s “super appreciative of Tesla shareholders” and “will ensure their prosperity in any scenario.”

Musk’s original tweet came shortly after news broke that a Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund bought a $2 billion stake in Tesla. Tesla’s stock rallied following Musk’s tweets, jumping as high as $371.

Whether this is appropriate disclosure under SEC rules is unclear, but it’s worth noting that it does allow companies to make certain announcements in specific circumstances on social media. The caveat is that investors must know to watch those channels for those announcements.

Back in 2012, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced Netflix subscribers passed one billion hours of content watched. The following year, the SEC announced that was ok to do and that Hastings did not violate Regulation Fair Disclosure, which requires companies to distribute information regarding their financial success in ways that are widely accessible.

Musk has a following of 22.3 million people on Twitter, while Hastings had just over 200,000 followers on Facebook at the time of his announcement. That’s just to say I could see how one could argue Musk has a large enough reach to not be in violation of Regulation FD. But, I’m also not the SEC, which was not available for comment at the time of publication.

Tesla’s stock has been rather volatile in the last year, trading as low as $244.59 in April and as high as $389.61 in September.

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Like it or not, most news from Tesla is broken on Twitter these days. CEO Elon Musk opens up about the latest developments from the company on a regular basis, sometimes as a teaser and sometimes to gather feedback. He tweeted about a new offering that’s already in the works at Tesla that admittedly sounds a bit too weird to be true, but as with all things Elon, it’s hard to know if he’s serious. (The Boring Company seemed to be a big joke but ended up very real.) – reported Clean Technica

Elon shared that Tesla is working on a new mini-car that can “squeeze in an adult.” The future of personal electric vehicles is definitely up in the air, but it’s also not something we’ve seen Tesla interested in to date as it continues to pursue the electrification of the world’s worst polluting transportation solutions, starting with higher end passenger vehicles and leaning into heavy-duty Class 8 semi trucks.

Imagining what a single-passenger Tesla vehicle might look like, the first thing that comes to mind is low cost. With the Tesla Model 3 expected to be released at a $35,000 price point in coming months and demand far exceeding the capacity to actually produce the thing, it’s mind-numbing to imagine what a single-passenger vehicle could do. Cutting out 75% of the passenger space and 75% of the price could mean yet another Tesla revolution.

Anyone interested in a $10,000 Tesla? Granted, it’s all just speculation at this point, but the fact that he’s not just noodling about in a hypothetical chat about what’s possible but is instead talking about what they’re already working on lends credibility to dream that a single-passenger Tesla in the future.

These small electric vehicles are becoming increasingly common in urban centers like Amsterdam, where startup e-Ride rents out small golf cart looking electric vehicles made by Biro that are more than competent for urban travel. A few members of our team spotted these two-seat electric mini-cars in Amsterdam. The fact that they are being used in such weather makes it clear that these are competent four-season vehicles. The Biro Urban edition sells for just over €12,000 ($14,000), validating the possibility of a $10,000 single-seat electric vehicle.

I don’t know that this would be enough for most people to ditch their traditional automobiles, but if it could move people around for a lower cost in a safer, autonomous vehicle, it’s not hard to imagine that it would be wildly successful.

We’ll see what the future holds for this product concept. In the meantime, let us know if you think a single-passenger Tesla is actually in the cards from the man who seemingly has no problem attempting to tackle as many world problems as he can in a lifetime.

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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Category: Business
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