Just months after pledging to prioritize retail investors in Starlink’s future IPO, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has noted that the satellite constellation will be listed publicly once the cash flow of the internet service becomes predictable. Such a move would allow retail investors to hold a part of what could very well be a dominant player in the internet connectivity industry.
Musk’s update came as a response to a Twitter follower who asked if Starlink would be entering the public markets soon. The CEO, for his part, highlighted that Starlink’s IPO could only happen once cash flow could be predicted. Musk also noted that Starlink is a “staggeringly difficult technical & economic endeavor,” especially considering that every other satellite constellation project has not been successful.
Once we can predict cash flow reasonably well, Starlink will IPO
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 9, 2021
This is not the first time that Elon Musk has mentioned Starlink’s IPO. Last September, Musk noted on Twitter that Starlink will IPO when revenue growth is smooth and predictable. Musk then added a pretty nifty detail, stating that he would ensure that retail investors would be a top priority when Starlink does its IPO. “We will probably IPO Starlink, but only several years in the future when revenue growth is smooth & predictable. Public market does *not* like erratic cash flow haha. I’m a huge fan of small retail investors. Will make sure they get top priority. You can hold me to it,” Musk wrote.
Musk’s support for retail investors is well documented in the past, with small-time investors playing a part in some of the company’s key decisions. Part of the reason behind Musk backing out of Tesla’s short-lived privatization deal despite a $30 billion offer from firms like Silver Lake and Volkswagen AG, for one, was because some retail investors would be pushed out and forced to sell their TSLA shares. An account of the days leading up to Musk’s decision to abandon his take-private attempt also involved the CEO forwarding a personal message to a friend, which involved a couple of retail investors congratulating the CEO for Tesla’s Model 3 milestone. “Made my day,” Musk reportedly wrote.
Musk also came to retail investors’ defense more recently when he grilled Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev about the stock investing platform’s decision to limit its users from purchasing a number of popular and newsworthy stocks. During the conversation, which was held in a Clubhouse session, Musk spoke for numerous disgruntled Robinhood investors, noting that “people demand an answer and want to know the details and the truth.” Musk was successful to a point, with Tenev providing details about the events that transpired before and after Robinhood limited its users from purchasing selected stocks.
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