Tag Archives: Elon Musk

Saudi Arabia’s PIF and SoftBank Not Interested in Tesla Buyout, by Wolf Richter

Did Elon Musk lie, and therefore open him to civil and perhaps criminal liability, when he said Tesla had secured funding for a buyout that would take Tesla private? From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Two often-cited suspects are axed. So where’s the “secured” funding supposed to come from?

The whole scheme kicked off when Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted during trading hours that he was “considering” taking Tesla private, “Funding secured,” which caused the already ludicrously overvalued shares to spike. Later he added, “Investor support is confirmed.” But no details, no names, no tidbits, not even a tease. Two days earlier, he’d tweeted that “even Hitler was shorting Tesla stock.”

We can brush off the Hitler tweet as just one more Musk idiocy gone awry, but “Funding secured” and “Investor support is confirmed” are big-ass phrases for a public-company CEO discussing a buyout that would be valued at $72 billion.

Now some folks, including those at the SEC’s San Francisco office, are wanting to know where exactly this money is going to come from – and if funding was even remotely “secured.”

The Tesla true believers instantly figured that a deal had already been worked out, either with SoftBank or with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), or with both, or whatever.

Turns out, it’s not going to be SoftBank, and it’s not going to be the Saudis, either. They’re not interested in creating the magic to pull this off.

Reuters reported today that a source “familiar with PIF’s strategy,” said that the fund was not, as Reuters put it, “currently getting involved in any funding process for Tesla’s take-private deal.”

PIF had made headlines recently when it came out that it had acquired a stake in Tesla of just below 5% by buying its shares (TSLA) in the market. None of this money went to Tesla. It went to Tesla shareholders that wanted to get out.

PIF has also heavily invested in other tech companies in the US, including a $45-billion investment in the Vision Fund, a venture capital fund that SoftBank, a Japanese holding conglomerate, has put together by pouring $100 billion into it.

To continue reading: Saudi Arabia’s PIF and SoftBank Not Interested in Tesla Buyout

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Tesla Posts Record Loss – and Stock Price Goes up! by Eric Peters

Someday people will look back and say that Tesla and Netflix were symbols of our age: companies that went deeper and deeper into debt, never made a dime, and were rewarded with outrageous stock prices. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Elon Musk’s crony capitalist con operation just posted its biggest loss to date – $430 million in three months – but Tesla stock prices climbed 10 percent after the announcement.

What to make of this?

It’s like being in a nursing home, beside the bed of your blind, dementia-addled 94-year-old grandmother and the doctor just told you she probably hasn’t got much time left – but you decide to go out and buy her a new car.

With the difference being that you’re buying grandma the car.

In Tesla’s case, it’s taxpayerswho are buying the cars – for the affluent virtue-signalers who “buy” them at massively subsidized but massively high prices.

Even so, Elon still can’t make a buck on these things.

Not that it matters.

The conga line of suckers seems endless. In part because of Elon’s Rasputin-like ability to bedazzle the media, which reports every promise with the gush of a 16-year-old girl effusing over her prom date and never reports that her date raped her after the prom.

Mum is always the word when it comes to Elon.

For example – and most recently – the media gushed over the arrival (sort of) of the “affordable” Model 3, sticker price only $35,000! Which is only $15,000 more than a well-equipped Honda Civic sedan, which does the job of getting from A to B vastly better, if the metrics are cheaper and easier and more conveniently.

But the media has not told you that the “affordable” $35,000 Model 3 isn’t available.

Only the $40,000 Model 3 currently is.

And it’s only twice as expensive as a well-equipped Honda Civic.

But what’s $20,000 between friends, eh?

Keep in mind, too, that both the $35,000 Model 3 and the $40,000 Model 3 are really more like $50,000 Model 3s – if you take away the subsidies and price them such as to account for their true cost to manufacture and sell at a profit – as opposed to giving each away at a loss, as Elon has been doing for the past 15 years.

To continue reading: Tesla Posts Record Loss – and Stock Price Goes up!

Elon Needs More Money (Again), by Eric Peters

SLL has no particular animus towards either Elon Musk or his company, Tesla. We just think they are the perfect symbols for crony socialism in our era, so we post a lot of articles about them. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Last month, I wrote about Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s contemptuous and breezy dismissal of questions asked by financial analysts about the cashflow situation at Tesla. Would the company need yet another infusion of money to remain afloat? Lame! Next question.

That was Musk’s response.

As it turns out, it’s Tesla that’s lame.  The company – Musk – just laid off several thousand employees, about 9 percent of its workforce – which is one way to raise cash (by not spending it on worker salaries) when you don’t want to admit you need another infusion from investors – or realize you might not be able to get one because those investors are becoming gun-shy about giving money to Elon.

I’ve been pointing out for years that Tesla is a net money-losing operation, despite all the crony capitalist advantages – including electric car quotas in states like California, which force other car companies to either build EVs they can’t sell (or sell at a loss) or buy “credits” from an electric car manufacturer (Tesla) which the electric car company then uses to offset its losses.

Even so, Tesla has lost something on the order of $5.4 billion dollars so far, according to most estimates. Yet – until quite recently – most media coverage of Tesla has focused on what amounts to financial Fake News of the most egregious kind, such as the hype-driven value of Tesla stock. It’s true the stock price zoomed upward like a bottle rocket on the 4th of July. But what was driving this?

Not anything of value.

Analysts refused to analyze the fact that Tesla loses money on every car it sells. That it remains in business only because of investor infusions and deposits given on cars that never seem to materialize.

Well, the electric chickens may finally be coming home to roost.

At some point, you either make money – or you don’t. If you don’t, you have to find people willing to give you more of it. When you can’t do that anymore, you are forced to scale back. You let people go in order to husband what resources you’ve still got, in the hope that maybe you’ll be able to ride it out.

Elon is running out of money. His operations aren’t sustainable.

To continue reading: Elon Needs More Money (Again)

“Boring… Next”, by Eric Peters

For a guy who’s been losing money for years, Elon Musk is awfully cocky. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

When financial analyst Toni Sacconaghi of Sanford C. Bernstein asked Tesla CEO Elon Musk about the money-losing electric car company’s capital requirements going forward (Tesla has burned through – cue Dr. Evil – one billion dollars in three of the last four quarters) Musk replied: “Boring, bonehead questions are not cool. Next?”

Fo sheer effrontery, this tops even The Chimp’s I am the Decider!

Neither man gives a damn about the damage – human or financial – imposed on others. Nor that others are made to pay for it all. They don’t even give lip service to pretending  anything they do bothers them in the least. All that matters is the Great Dream – whether it’s “regime change” in some resource-rich country which hasn’t attacked us (a war crime, once upon a time) or this equally demented business of manufacturing electric cars that almost no one would freely buy absent the subsidies and mandates.

Raise your hand, ask a reasonable question – and it’s dismissed as “boring” and “boneheaded.”Sacconaghi was also lectured by Musk to not “make a federal case” out of Tesla failing to achieve the ludicrous 25 percent gross profit margin on sales of the Model 3 it claimed it would make. A reasonable question, given most legitimate car manufacturers – those whose cars sell on their economic merits, without needing taxpayer-financed propping-up via subsidies and mandates – earn about 4 percent or so.

“That’s something that we’ll solve like within three months to six months later,” Musk said.

The sun will come out, tomorrow…

The guy is a crony capitalist Rasputin. He bewitches and seduces. Whatever the ersatz Iron Man says is taken as holy writ, not to be questioned.

 

To continue reading: “Boring… Next”

Elon Musk: Production Hell or Party Balloons? Pick One. By David Wallace

Elon Musk may be the smartest man who ever lived (he probably thinks he is), but even a hypergenius couldn’t juggle all the balls he’s got in the air. From David Wallace at americanthinker.com:

Is Elon Musk – the recipient of over five billion government dollars – really the focused workhorse he proclaims to be, or is he nothing more than a taxpayer-subsidized, scatterbrained mess hopelessly trying to make his science fiction dreams into reality?

Wall Street is now largely betting against Tesla, which has consistently missed Model 3 production deadline after Model 3 production deadline.  Some believe that the company is nearing its make-or-break moment.

To prove private-sector investment houses like Goldman Sachs wrong, Musk claims he is going through “production hell,” working at all hours to quench Tesla’s backlog bug.  According to him, he moves his desk to wherever the most pressing Tesla problems are.  Musk also claims to sleep on the Tesla factory floor at night, which prompted his all-believers to start a GoFundMe page to finance a couch for the billionaire.

Musk wants you to think he is a busy bee laser-focused on the mission at hand.  But if Musk is truly so engrossed in meeting his Tesla deadlines, why is he spending time working on party balloons and bouncy houses?

Yes, you read that right.  Just days ago on Twitter, Musk – conceding that he recognizes that it may sound crazy – wrote that “SpaceX will try to bring rocket upper stage back from orbital velocity using a giant party balloon … And then land on a bouncy house.”

Who knows?  Although sounding outlandish on its face, maybe the idea will actually work in recovering upper-stage rockets one day.  But is now really the time for wild theorizing and experiments?  Tesla just stopped Model 3 production again to “improve automation.”  Its California factory is currently under investigation for safety issues.  As of November, Musk’s car company is burning nearly half a million dollars an hour, and the billionaire still hasn’t resolved the laundry list of SpaceX security concerns that the NASA Aerospace Advisory Council and Department of Defense inspector general brought to his attention in December and January, respectively.  Party balloons and bouncy houses should be pretty far down on his to-do list right now.

To continue reading: Elon Musk: Production Hell or Party Balloons? Pick One.

Feel The Burn, by Eric Peters

Tesla’s debt-drenched saga may be coming to an end. From Eric Peters at ericpetersauto.com:

Even long cons can only run for so long.

Elon Musk’s electric car con may be on the verge – finally – of coming unglued. This week, he’ll be forced to reveal actual production numbers for the first quarter of the year which are expected to fall well short of what he promised investors – and buyers, who ponied up deposits based on those promises.

Last year, Musk breezily assured both groups that an improbable 5,000 Model 3s – Tesla’s first “mass-produced” electric car – would be rolling off the production line in Fremont, CA each week.

He’s come as close to reaching that goal as he has to sending space tourists to Mars, another promise.

Thousands of people who were promised cars last year are still waiting for cars this year.

They may still be waiting next year, given that Musk – so far – has only been able to build a relative handful of Model 3s. The backlog is giga-normous. Which means that even if he somehow manages to ramp up the production to what he promised last year, it’ll take an increase in production over that promised number just to catch up this year.

Meanwhile, the marks – whoops, buyers – wait.

And wait, again.

It’s scandalous.

If GM, say, took cash deposits from thousands of people and promsied them cars by “x” date but hadn’t delivered them by “y” (or even “z”) the abuse chorus from the press would be shrill and endless. There would be howls from the gypped, demanding their money back. But Musk gets away with serially breaking promises because what he promises jibes with the vision which the technocratic elites who control the press as well as the fanbois who practically worship him are desperate to see realized:

The electrified – and automated – future.

But what if it isn’t workable? Damn the facts! Full speed ahead!

It’s very much of a piece with Lysenkoism – the Soviet-era rejection of inconvenient facts in favor of politically correct bromides.

Wishes vs. reality.

To continue reading: Feel The Burn

Elon Musk is a messianic huckster, by Matthew Walther

Once upon a time messianic hucksters had their moment in the sun, but were quickly dispensed with when people, as the invariably do, discovered they were frauds. Now they get billions from government and just keep going and going. From Matthew Walther at theweek.com:

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Elon Musk is a goofball techbro whose real business is quack philosophizing, not inventions or engineering.

I realize that the founder of Tesla and SpaceX really does make things, like electric cars and spaceships. But Musk’s numerous attempts to realize his gleaming visions of a Jetsons-like future have never come close to living up to the (largely self-manufactured) hype. Lately he has started claiming that he is going to send cargo-laden rocket ships to Mars by the middle of President Trump’s second term, in advance of the establishment of a permanent human colony. I’m not holding my breath.

Why have we allowed this lunatic a prominent place in our public and commercial life? Even his name makes him sound like the villain who convinces the Earth Federation in the year 4836 to trade in its fleet of perfectly serviceable if somewhat old-fashioned solar-powered starships for his sleek but shoddily made models that, allegedly, run on nothing but crystals from the planet Flion.

The line between science and science fiction has always been a blurry one. No sooner would Jules Verne write a story about, say, an electric submarine than some genius inventor would will it into reality. The problem with Musk is that he seems willing to calmly accept the reality of every nebulous Star Trek plot device in existence without bothering with the boring part where the thing actually has to work. Even a supercomputer operating on the principle of the so-called infinite monkey theorem could not devise a credible individual repository for all the wild things Musk believes. From the imminence of total human extinction to the perennial undergraduate assertion that, like, maybe we are all living inside in the Matrix, there is no implausible, discredited, absurd-on-its-face theory or cause that Musk has not endorsed with brio.

It would be difficult to think of anyone else who routinely says things as blinkeringly stupid to large audiences as routinely as Musk. Take his most recent pronouncement on artificial intelligence, a favorite subject of his, proffered to the similarly screen-ravaged consciences that attend the annual South By Southwest technology conference in Austin, Texas. “The danger of AI is much greater than the danger of nuclear warheads by a lot,” he said. “Mark my words.” Call me a Luddite, but I’m just not seeing it. The day when we are all putting on camo and fighting endless guerilla war against our cyborg overlords still seems to me pretty remote, alas.

To continue reading: Elon Musk is a messianic huckster