Investor's Corner

Tesla-SolarCity merger nearly a sure thing: Musk “pretty optimistic” on shareholder approval

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk is “pretty optimistic” that Tesla shareholders will approve the $2.6 billion acquisition deal that SolarCity’s board of directors approved in August. The comment came during a live webcast on November 1, in which a Q&A session allowed analysts to unpack the proposed Tesla/ SolarCity merger. Musk’s optimism referenced “general comments” that indicated the merger is “trending favorably on the consumer level, and customers are very positive.” He described the tenor of these comments as “innate” to natural front and free cash funds conversations.

Tesla has maintained that, if shareholders approve the transaction, a combined Tesla and SolarCity would have the capacity to generate, store, and consume energy entirely in a sustainable fashion. It would do so through a suite of integrated products that add aesthetics and function while reducing costs. They anticipate that leveraging SolarCity’s installation network and Tesla’s global retail footprint will offer a “seamless” way for both customers and shareholders to experience significant value.

Through the acquisition of SolarCity, Tesla will create the world’s only integrated sustainable energy company, from energy generation to storage to transportation, according to a company blog post. “Just as Tesla has demonstrated the superiority of electric vehicles, the solar roof and Powerwall 2 will transform energy generation and storage.”

Opposition to the deal surrounds a possible conflict of combining two of Musk’s firms and SolarCity’s oft tenuous financial standing. Musk revealed that SolarCity had raised about $1 billion in funds in the previous four months. Musk, who is chairman of both companies, said he would be surprised if the deal did not go through next month. He also admitted that there have been “a few naysayers” with concerns about the merger, including big hedge funds.

He admonished analysts who predict a negative result to the merger vote to ask themselves “how good have they been at predicting the outcome for Tesla in the past?” Musk said their “batting average is zero. We should really question whether the future predictions are going to be better, which is evidenced by ROI.” Musk has constantly focused beyond the next quarter to years ahead, insisting that short term performance is less indicative of a company’s overall health than is investing now for a financially robust tomorrow.

In a joint SEC filing, Tesla and SolarCity confirmed that they will be holding the vote on the proposed merger on November 17. The special meeting of stockholders is scheduled to take place at the Page Avenue Facility in Fremont starting at 1 p.m. Pacific time.

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