Tesla founder Elon Musk put privatization plans for the electric car maker in reverse, saying in a blog post that investors have convinced him that keeping the company public is a better idea.
“Given the feedback I’ve received, it’s apparent that most of Tesla’s existing shareholders believe we are better off as a public company,” Musk wrote. “Additionally, a number of institutional shareholders have explained that they have internal compliance issues that limit how much they can invest in a private company.
“There is also no proven path for most retail investors to own shares if we were private,” Musk wrote in the Friday post on the Tesla website. “Although the majority of shareholders I spoke to said they would remain with Tesla if we went private, the sentiment, in a nutshell, was ‘please don’t do this.'”
Musk had announced earlier this month that he was considering taking the company private, and claimed he had investors lined up that could provide the money. He said in his blog post that his view that there was “more than enough” private capital available to take the company private was reinforced by his work trying to decide if it was a good idea.
In addition to a sometimes rocky relationship with investment analysts, Musk and Tesla have been beset by controversy over the production timeline for the Tesla Model 3. Musk said that issue was part of his thought process in deciding to keep the company publicly traded.
“I knew the process of going private would be challenging, but it’s clear that it would be even more time-consuming and distracting than initially anticipated,” Musk said. “This is a problem because we absolutely must stay focused on ramping Model 3 and becoming profitable. We will not achieve our mission of advancing sustainable energy unless we are also financially sustainable.”
Musk also is involved in other ventures outside of Tesla, including SpaceX, a private space launch firm, and the Boring Co., which is intent on building tunnels for a new mode of electric underground transportation.
When Musk said on Twitter that he was considering taking Tesla private, it roiled the markets and the company itself. Musk said in a subsequent interview with the New York Times that it has been an extremely difficult year with troubles at Tesla, calling the past several months “excruciating.” The interview didn’t drum up much sympathy with investors, though, as Tesla stock continued to falter.
“Our investors are extremely important to me,” Musk said in his most recent blog post about keeping the company public. “Almost all have stuck with us from the time we went public in 2010 when we had no cars in production and only a vision of what we wanted to be. They believe strongly in our mission to advance sustainable energy and care deeply about our success.”