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Tesla has halted trading after Elon Musk tweeted that he wants to take the company private

Tesla stock jumped to a high of $371 after Musk tweeted he was considering taking the company private at $420 a share.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk
David McNew / Getty

Tesla may not be a public company for long if Elon Musk follows through on his most recent tweets. The overly outspoken CEO tweeted that he is considering taking Tesla private at $420 a share.

A few hours later, Tesla trading was halted, but not before the stock jumped to $371 from $358.

The initially scantily detailed tweet was not paired with a formal Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The SEC declined to comment on whether that violated disclosure rules. However, in 2013 the SEC said social media was a “perfectly suitable“ way to disseminate information, as long as investors knew to look at that platform for information.

According to that caveat, Musk may be in the clear. The Tesla CEO often uses his Twitter to make announcements about the company. And it certainly wouldn’t be the first time his tweets or words moved Tesla’s stock price — for better or worse.

The CEO has several weeks of inflammatory tweets under his belt — ranging from confusing to downright bizarre — and a first-quarter earnings call that sent Tesla’s stock plummeting. In fact, Musk spent the last earnings call apologizing to analysts for calling their questions “boneheaded.”

Going private would, at the very least, alleviate some of the weight being put on Musk’s tweets. But, broadly speaking, it would mean Tesla would no longer be subject to many public disclosure rules. That would make it easier for the electric car manufacturer to operate without the pressure of meeting publicly set deadlines for production and profitability.

Going private may be a welcome change for the company, which is the most-shorted stock on Wall Street — particularly as Tesla attempts to make the critical move from a luxury automaker to a mass-market one while also becoming profitable.

The series of tweets also comes just after the Financial Times revealed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund has a $2 billion stake in Tesla.

Musk continued tweeting about taking the company private, saying that he would not sell the company and planned to remain as the CEO. Musk also said that long-term investors will be able to remain invested in the company through a special-purpose fund. He later said that current shareholders could choose to sell at the $420 a share price or hold on to their shares and go private.

Though the company posted another record-high loss of $717.5 million in the second quarter, Musk says he has secured the funding to take the company private if he decides to do so.

We’ve reached out to Tesla for comment. Musk sent this email to Tesla employees today.

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