Elon Musk’s Twitter Account Says Tesla Is Considering Going Private — At an 18% Premium
UPDATE: The Nasdaq halted trading of Tesla shares shortly after CEO Elon Musk’s tweet.
One of the most polarizing companies on the stock market, Tesla, may go private, according to a Tuesday message from CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter handle.
“Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured,” the account reads. In a followup tweet, he quipped: “Good morning,” with as smiley face emoji. Fortune has yet to ascertain the veracity of the tweet, and will update this article once Tesla responds.
Musk’s social media message came shortly after the Financial Times reported, citing sources, that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund had acquired a 3% to 5% stake in the company, worth in the $2 billion to $3 billion range.
The two pieces of news helped move shares of Tesla up nearly 6% in trading Tuesday, to $362 apiece. At the price mentioned in Musk’s tweet, however, Tesla would be valued at roughly $71.7 billion, 18% higher than its current market capitalization. That would make the electric carmaker more valuable than fellow vehicles producer BMW ($64 billion), as well as companies such as Starbucks ($70 billion) and CVS ($66 billion).
The tweet also comes at a time when Musk’s company has continued to undergo scrutiny over its ambitious projects and cash burn. It’s one of the most shorted stocks out there. And it was in this high-skepticism atmosphere that Musk lashed out at analysts during a recent quarterly earnings call — a usually highly scripted affair — dubbing one analyst query “boring bonehead.” The CEO later apologized for his behavior in a subsequent call.
It’s also unclear whether the tweet could get Musk in trouble with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Fortune will update this story once we hear a response from the SEC.