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Photo by Roberto Gonzalez/Getty Images

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.

Another possibility under consideration is that SpaceX, Mr. Musk’s rocket company, would help bankroll the Tesla privatization and would take an ownership stake in the carmaker, according to people familiar with the matter.

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.

Go deeper

24 mins ago - World

Army to award Purple Hearts to troops injured in Iran missile attack

Damage at Ain al-Asad military airbase housing U.S. and other foreign troops in the western Iraqi province of Anbar in January 2020. Photo: Ayman Henna/AFP via Getty Images

The Army has approved 39 more Purple Hearts for U.S. soldiers wounded in an Iranian military ballistic missile attack on an Iraq base in January 2020, the Army Times first reported Wednesday.

Why it matters: Most of these soldiers sustained brain injuries, per the Army Times. Then-President Trump dismissed their injuries at the time as "headaches" and "not very serious," sparking backlash from some veterans groups.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems invoke Robert Byrd to sell Manchin on Senate rules changes

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Diana Walker, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A small group of Senate Democrats is privately invoking the legacy of late West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd in an effort to sway Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to support their plans to change the chamber's rules, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Manchin — who holds Byrd's Senate seat — has often referenced his predecessor's strong moral conviction and insistence on preserving the Senate as an institution, as justification for some of his tough positions.