By David Meyer
August 27, 2018

Tesla’s stock price fell by as much as 5% in German trading on Monday morning, following Elon Musk’s Friday announcement that the company would not be going private after all.

Musk announced his plan to take Tesla private earlier this month, claiming that he had secured funding to do so. He was motivated by frustration at the frequent shorting of the company’s stock.

Tesla’s share price popped on the CEO’s original announcement, but not for long. Even before Friday’s U-turn, it had fallen by around 10% since before Musk said he wanted to take the electric car firm private.

On Friday, Musk wrote in a blog post that Tesla’s shareholders had made their opposition to the go-private plan clear to him. Such a path would have shut out retail investors, many institutional investors would have had to reduce their stakes for regulatory reasons, and the process would have been “even more time-consuming and distracting than initially anticipating”—at a time when Tesla is desperately trying to achieve production goals and profitability.

According to a Monday Wall Street Journal piece, there was another problem: rivals such as Volkswagen would have been able to take a stake in Tesla.

Musk’s claim of secured funding turned out not to be quite accurate—Musk had apparently held talks with the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund and came away feeling like the deal was imminent, but there was no formal agreement. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is now probing Musk’s announcement, which he made via Twitter with no prior notification to the markets.

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