As Tesla's board of directors rallied Wednesday behind chief Elon Musk's extraordinary push to take the all-electric automaker private, a growing contingent of investors, analysts and former regulators voiced their doubts that the deal would ever take off.
'Being public also subjects us to the quarterly earnings cycle that puts enormous pressure on Tesla to make decisions that may be right for a given quarter, but not necessarily right for the long-term, ' Musk wrote in a letter to employees.
It took about two hours before Tesla posted a Musk email to company employees on its website elaborating on his reasons for wanting to do the deal, making it clear he was serious. According to the WSJ report, as well as others slowly trickling out of Twitter's financial corner, the SEC is looking into whether or not Musk was telling the truth when he said he'd already secured financing to take the company public. The board, they said, had met "several times" over the last week and was actively working to "evaluate" the proposal.
There is no evidence this was Musk's intention with his remarks on Tuesday.
Musk has feuded publicly with regulators, critics, short sellers and reporters, and some analysts suggested that less transparency would be welcomed by Musk.
The deal would be the biggest leveraged buyout of all time, beating the $45 billion record set by Texas power utility Energy Future Holdings.
But his nine-word tweet during the middle of trading Tuesday - "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420".
Buying Tesla in its entirety would cost US$72b, based on the company's outstanding stock as of July 27. Bloomberg News, which first reported on that meeting, said the talks failed to progress due to disagreements over ownership. In its statement, the board said the company's chief executive had "addressed the funding for this to occur".
No board member has come forward to back the plan.
Investors have also questioned why the maneuver was not listed in a 69-page SEC filing, submitted last week and released Monday, that provided intricate detail of Tesla's financial outlook and coming events.