Elon Musk tweets about taking Tesla private, shares soar

Elon Musk at a Tesla

Shares in Tesla hit $367.25 after a message posted at 9.48am NY time on Mr Musk's verified Twitter account said: "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420".

The BBC has been unable to verify the post was written by Mr Musk himself, but it has pushed the shares 6% higher.

Musk triggered a spike in Tesla's share price shortly before 1 p.m. with a tweet: "Am considering taking Tesla private at $420". Many major Wall Street bankers contacted by Reuters said on condition of anonymity that they were not aware of Musk's plans ahead of his tweets, and several expressed skepticism that a leveraged buyout of Tesla could be financed given the company's negative cash flow.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

"Musk does not want to run a public company", said Gene Munster of Loup Ventures, as Tesla's ambitious mission makes it "difficult to accommodate investors' quarterly expectations". Musk has followed up with an offer for current stockholders to keep their shares and "go private" - without knowing further details on the company's board and governance structure.

Musk said he has no intention of combining the electric auto maker and the private space company under one umbrella.

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Prior to the Tesla earnings call on Wednesday, Musk put out a call for game developers to come work for Tesla.

"Either [shareholders] can stay investors in a private Tesla or they can be bought out at $420 per share, which is a 20% premium over the stock price following our Q2 earnings call (which had already increased by 16%)". The company is now valued at just over $60 billion, with Musk holding an nearly 20 percent stake in the company. Prices seesawed in the range of $360 to $370, a roughly 7 to 8 percent rise for the day, while investors tried to decide whether Musk was joking. If Musk can't prove the allegedly secured funding at $420 per share, he may be accused of market manipulation or market fraud.

"The market doesn't believe him", said David Kudla, the CEO of Mainstay Capital Management, which is betting against Tesla. I wanted to let you know my rationale for this, and why I think this is the best path forward.

He added that he hoped all shareholders would remain and that all Tesla employees would "remain shareholders of the company". Shares jumped in Tuesday trading following reports that the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund took a $2 billion stake in the company earlier this year.

Short interest in Tesla on Tuesday stood at almost $US13 billion, according to S3 Partners, a financial analytics firm. He added: "I can't believe this is something to bluff or make fun of".

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