Last week the New York Times suggested that SpaceX may help Elon Musk finance his attempted buyout of Tesla.
Bottom line: It's possible, but SpaceX shareholders would throw a fit if it's done directly.
Here is what the NYT wrote, within a piece that was broadly noted for Musk's apparent mental fatigue.
I've spoken to several SpaceX shareholders, and have heard the following:
- Most of them believe Musk could pledge some or all of his stake in SpaceX, which was last valued in mid-2017 at $21 billion. He's believed to hold a very large stake in SpaceX — possibly around half — and has a history of betting big on himself. And, as Tesla stock continues to sink, Musk may be able to get a much lower price than his proposed $420 per share.
- They do not want SpaceX to directly finance the Tesla buyout, at least in any meaningful way. These folks believe they have shares in the Musk company with profits and a deep management bench, and see no reason to marry it with the opposite. Particularly given all the conflicts of interest and possible regulatory headaches.
- Yes, SpaceX is profitable, but EBIT is quite narrow and could blow up if a rocket or two does. One shareholder estimates that the company will do over $2 billion in 2018 revenue (based on expected launches), and that it has around $1 billion of cash on hand. SpaceX also has plenty of access to new capital, both equity and debt.