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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

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

7 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.