Tesla Inc.'s board confirmed it knew last week about Elon Musk's proposal to take the electric-car maker private, adding credence to the idea that this was more than a spur-of-the-moment whim from the notoriously impulsive billionaire.
Trading on the company's stock was halted Tuesday after Musk tweeted that he was considering taking Tesla private. In an email, Musk told Tesla employees that he believes going private would be the "best path forward".
At that price, and given Musk's 20% stake in Tesla, roughly $60 billion would be needed to go private. Many initially thought it was Elon Musk's attempt at a bad joke about marijuana, because "420" has always been associated with pot.
Musk has been under intense pressure this year to turn his company into a profitable higher-volume manufacturer, a prospect that has sent Tesla's valuation higher than that of GM.
Just last week, he revealed he had been working 110 hours a week to deliver on short-term promises he had made to Wall Street, a load he traced to his boorish behaviour toward two analysts earlier this year.
Musk's plan for a price of $420 a share would value a deal at more than $70 billion. However, Musk expects the shareholders to agree with him and allow him to take the company private again. He claims Tesla is the most shorted stock "in the history of the stock market" and that going private would remove them from the narrative.
Those who believe Musk is carrying out a vendetta against short sellers may point to a May 4 tweet suggesting he might have something up his sleeve. Tesla was trading around $300 per share in April 2017 when the talks reportedly fell through.
A statement was issued by six members of the electric carmaker's board after Mr Musk tweeted to say he had the funding to de-list the company.
Musk, his brother Kimbal and director Steve Jurvetson were not included in the statement from members Brad Buss, Robyn Denholm, Ira Ehrenpreis, Antonio Gracias, Linda Johnson Rice, and James Murdoch. According people familiar with the matter, cited in a Bloomberg report on Wednesday, at least four of China's largest banks have started the appraisal process on loans to be used to build a Shanghai Tesla factory.