By Carlo Versano
Could SpaceX be the vehicle that allows Elon Musk to take Tesla private?
As the fallout from Musk's "funding secured" tweet continues into a third week, some believe the embattled CEO might be looking to borrow against his own shares of SpaceX ー in which he owns a controlling stake ー to buy out Tesla shareholders, said Axios business editor Dan Primack.
That tactic would theoretically quell a SpaceX shareholder or board revolt, since the company wouldn't be taking on debt to finance its CEO's other company. SpaceX remains a private company.
"He is willing to bet a lot of his own money on himself," Primack said Monday in an interview on Cheddar.
This method may allow Musk to fulfill the promise of his Aug. 7 tweet without having to rely on deep-pocketed outside investors like the Saudis.
Reuters reported exclusively over the weekend that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund ー the fund that Musk had said may help him fund the Tesla buyout ー is actively discussing an investment in Lucid Motors, a start-up positioning itself as a rival to Tesla.
But Primack said that's not necessarily a bet against Musk; it's more likely an example of the Saudi fund diversifying its electric-car position.
Meanwhile, Musk has been on a media blitz. After telling the New York Times that his job was taking a serious emotional toll on him, he spoke to [YouTube personality Marques Brownlee] (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MevKTPN4ozw), suggesting that it would take "maybe" three years to produce a $25,000 car. Then, over the weekend, Musk replied in a tweet to Arianna Huffington, who posted an open letter to the CEO on her wellness site Friday, urging Musk to reevaluate his long hours and get more sleep.
"You think this is an option. It is not," Musk wrote at 2:30 am PT on Sunday.
In an earlier interview on Cheddar Monday, Ed Carson of Investor's Business Daily said that Musk's stewardship of Tesla cuts both ways. The CEO represents his company's "greatest strength and their greatest weakness," Carson said. Since Musk's personal style and vision are so closely tied to that of Tesla, Carson added, if the chief exec seems "unstable" in an interview or on social media, "that is really concerning" for shareholders.
For full interview, [click here] (https://cheddar.com/videos/teslas-go-private-bid-the-spacex-factor).