Credit & Capital

Tesla to Raise $2B in Return to Public Markets

Stock and convertible debt offerings will boost Tesla's cash position as it faces expensive challenges, including developing new models.
Matthew HellerMay 3, 2019
Tesla to Raise $2B in Return to Public Markets

Tesla is returning to the public markets with stock and bond offerings that would raise about $2 billion in capital to fund its growth plans.

The electric-car maker disclosed in a regulatory filing Thursday that it will offer investors 2.72 million shares of stock, which would raise about $650 million, and $1.35 billion of debt securities that can convert to stock at a later date.

The equity offering would be Tesla’s first in two years and its largest issue of new shares since it raised $2.3 billion in 2016. Tesla, which went public in 2010, had taken a break from the markets after selling shares or convertible securities every year through 2017.

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Even though the stock offering will dilute the holdings of existing shareholders, Tesla shares rose 4.3% to $244.10 in trading Thursday.

“The market seems to be breathing a sigh of relief. Now they need to get back to work, and start selling more cars,” Roth Capital analyst Craig Irwin told Reuters.

As Reuters reports, Tesla is facing “expensive challenges, including launching production in China, overhauling its U.S. retail and service operations and developing new models, including the high-volume Model Y SUV and a Semi commercial truck.”

For over a year, CEO Elon Musk had insisted that the company had no need for a capital raise, predicting it would be profitable in all quarters of 2019. But in the first quarter, it lost $702 million and burned through $1.5 billion in cash.

At the end of March, Tesla had $2.2 billion in cash on hand, down from $3.7 billion at the end of 2018.

“It was overdue,” Vicki Bryan, chief executive of the research firm Bond Angle, said of Tesla’s return to the markets.

According to The New York Times, analysts think the new offerings “will probably be adequate to finance the production of Tesla’s current models, but they say the company may be back for more cash as it moves to release new vehicles.”

Tesla could raise as much as $2.3 billion if demand is great enough for the underwriters to sell additional stock and bonds.