Elon Musk says he's considering taking Tesla private

Elon Musk

Tesla resumed trading on the Nasdaq exchange after a almost two-hour pause on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the company confirmed in a blog post that CEO Elon Musk is considering taking the electric vehicle maker private at $420 per share.

"Yes, might take Tesla private", he said.

Going private is one way to avoid close scrutiny by the public market as Musk and the company face those challenges.

In the past year alone, Tesla shares have seen a wild swing, trading as low as $244.59 last April to reaching its all-time high less than six months later amid upbeat Model 3 sentiment. A price of US$420 a share would value the company at US$72b, nearly double Ford.

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).

His missive came minutes after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund had built an undisclosed stake of 3 per cent to 5 per cent this year, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter it didn't identify.

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In a letter to Tesla employees published on the company's blog https://www.tesla.com/blog/taking-tesla-private?redirect=no, Musk explained that such a move - over which no final decision had been made - would let Tesla "operate at its best, free from as much distraction and short-term thinking as possible". According to the Times, the Saudis recently approached Musk and offered to buy even more Tesla shares, an offer that Musk refused. Fortune has yet to ascertain the veracity of the tweet, and will update this article once Tesla responds. Shares are up as high as 9% on the day.

While Mr Musk has previously discussed the drawbacks of being a public company, he has also used his Twitter account in ways that surprised investors.

Tesla and its investors are no stranger to seeing the company's share price follow a rollercoaster trajectory.

Tesla has had more than its share of ups and downs over the past few months, due to an intense focus on production rates and sales figures for Tesla's mass-market Model 3 electric auto.

But asked if he would take legal action against Musk over the allegation, Unsworth said: 'If it's what I think it is yes'. He added: "I can't believe this is something to bluff or make fun of".

In 2013, he emailed SpaceX employees that he was "hesitant to foist being public" on the company "given the long term nature of our mission". It's one of the most shorted stocks out there.

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