Tesla offers 2.6 billion dollar for SolarCity, lower end of expectations

  • PTI, New York
  • Updated: Aug 01, 2016 20:26 IST
In this file photo, Tesla vehicles can be seen parked outside of a new company showroom and service centre in Red Hook. (AFP)

Tesla will spend about 2.6 billion dollars on solar panel maker SolarCity in an all-stock deal.

While the electric car maker has said that the tie-up would create a one-stop shop for cleaner energy, some have questioned the motives behind it.

Elon Musk is the chairman and biggest shareholder of both companies. And SolarCity is run by his cousin, Lyndon Rive. SolarCity’s stock slid more than 6% before the market opened on Monday.

The buyout gives SolarCity Corp stockholders 0.110 Tesla common shares per SolarCity share, which puts the value of SolarCity stock at USD 25.37 per share. Tesla previously said it would offer 23.56 to 25.30 dollar per SolarCity share.

Musk has cultivated the image of a maverick since he made his initial fortune as co-founder of online payment service, PayPal, which eBay bought for 1.5 billion dollar in 2002. He is hailed as a visionary by admirers who applaud him for shaking up the auto industry with Tesla’s sleek, electric vehicles and drawing up plans to send people to Mars on Space X’s rockets.

His detractors ridicule him as an unpredictable control freak.

Musk owns a 26% stake in Tesla Motors Inc., based in Palo Alto, California, and a 22.5% stake in SolarCity. His motivation to pair Tesla with the San Mateo, California, solar company primarily revolves around a battery system that stores solar energy in homes and businesses.

The deal may draw more attention to the financial position of both companies. Tesla has lost $1.2 billion in the past two years alone while SolarCity has suffered losses exceeding $1.1 billion during the same span. Analysts surveyed by FactSet are predicting a 416 million dollar loss from Tesla this year while they believe SolarCity will lose 851 million.

On Monday, SolarCity said that it experienced lower-than-expected residential bookings in the first half of the year, so it’s reducing its full-year guidance for megawatts installed to a range of 900 to 1,000 megawatts. Its previous outlook had been for 1,000 to 1,100 megawatts.

Tesla anticipates 150 million dollar in costs savings in the first full year after closing of any tie-up with SolarCity.

SolarCity has a 45-day “go-shop” period in which it can solicit alternative acquisition proposals. It will have to pay Tesla a 78.2 million dollar termination fee unless it ends the deal with Tesla in order to enter an agreement with a third party that initially made an alternative offer before the “go-shop” period ended. In such an instance, SolarCity would pay a USD 26.1 million termination fee, according to a regulatory filing.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. It still needs the approval of a majority of “disinterested” shareholders of both companies, meaning Musk wouldn’t have a say.

Tesla’s stock rose slightly in pre-market trading.

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