Elon Musk tweets about going private and shares 'skyrocket'

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

The stock had been worth about $342 a share before Musk's tweet, and shares quickly jumped as high as $371. "Funding secured", the account reads.

A Tesla electric auto supercharger station is seen in Los Angeles, California, U.S. August 2, 2018. Such backers begged Musk on Twitter to be allowed to keep their shares, and Musk assured them that they could. However, given Musk's lack of concern for industry norms and his ongoing feud with short-sellers, it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Earlier in the day, the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has built an undisclosed stake of between three and five per cent stake in Tesla.

Tesla shares closed up 11 percent at $379.57, slightly below their all-time high.

Musk has lashed out at critics and investors who have shorted the stock, going so far as to call one prominent critic's employer to silence him, and refusing to take a hard question from a financial analyst in the company's June shareholder meeting.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

At the price mentioned in Musk's tweet, however, Tesla would be valued at roughly $71.7 billion, 18% higher than its current market capitalization.

Musk's other companies specializing in private spaceflight and underground supertrains - SpaceX and The Boring Company - remain private, and Musk has shown reluctance about opening them to the public markets.

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Not long after the announcement, Tesla's stock surged 6.8 percent to $365.36 - adding $900 million to Musk's fortune in the process.

During the conference call accompanying the results, Mr Musk said he expected the company to avoid going back to the markets for capital and to be "essentially self-funding on a go-forward basis".

If Musk succeed in taking Tesla private, it would be the largest leveraged buyout of all time, beating the record set by the $45 billion deal for Texas power utility Energy Future Holdings, which ended in bankruptcy in 2014.

"Elon Musk does not want to run public companies", Munster said.

Harvey Pitt, a former SEC chairman, told CNBC on Tuesday that Musk's tweets "might constitute fraud if any of the facts he disclosed are not true" or if there was any indication that he had floated the proposal purely to boost the stock price.

Short interest in Tesla on Monday stood at almost $12 billion, equivalent to 28 percent of its float, according to S3 Partners, a financial analytics firm.

The surprise announcements prompted former Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt to question whether Musk had broken securities laws.

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