Tesla prices its secondary offering at $767 a share

Tesla prices its secondary offering at $767 a share

Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Inc., speaks during a ceremony at the company’s Gigafactory in Shanghai, China, on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Tesla priced its secondary common stock offering at $767 a share, the company said Friday, in a move that will likely be seen as a success because it’s only a slight discount to its previous closing price.

The electric vehicle maker said it will sell 2.65 million shares at that price to raise more than $2 billion. The price is a 4.6% discount to its close Thursday, when plans for an offering were announced. CEO Elon Musk will buy $10 million and Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison will purchase $1 million worth in the offering, the company said.

Shares of Tesla were little changed in early Friday trading, a day after gaining nearly 5% on news of the offering. The surprise move higher showed there is continued demand for the Musk-driven stock. The shares are up 92% this year alone through Thursday, raising questions about whether it is a bubble being driven by market factors.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the lead underwriters, have the option to buy an additional 397,500 shares in the offering.

Tesla said it plans to use the proceeds “to further strengthen its balance sheet, as well as for general corporate purposes.” Analysts were not expecting the capital raise from Tesla, especially because Musk two weeks ago declared that Tesla did not plan or need to raise any more capital. Musk said that Tesla was spending its money efficiently and suggested raising funds would artificially limit the company’s progress.

“It doesn’t make sense to raise money because we expect to generate cash despite this growth level,” Musk said.

In an investor note Friday, Evercore ISI analyst Chris McNally gave Tesla “applause” for issuing new equity. Evercore raised its target price to $550 a share from $250 a share, although the firm stuck by its underperform rating on Tesla.

“What’s changed? More than just fundamentals,” McNally said. “Sentiment has and likely will continue to play an integral rolein TSLA’s valuation.”

Tesla also acknowledged in a filing on Thursday that the coronavirus outbreak may cause damage to its business. It mentioned “health epidemics” to its risk factors for the first time, noting that the coronavirus may cause Tesla to “incur expenses or delays relating to such events outside of our control.” It also noted that its Gigafactory in Shanghai was closed briefly because of the outbreak.

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