Following weeks of turmoil surrounding Tesla and it’s CEO Elon Musk, J.P. Morgan has predicted that Tesla’s stock price will plunge 30 percent as the investment giant believes that funding for taking the company private is not “secured” as Musk claims.
J.P. Morgan now believes that Elon Musk’s claims that funding was secured to take Tesla private may not have been entirely based in truth, as a result, the firm has cut its December price target for Tesla from $308 to $195 — a drop of about 30 percent, CNBC reports. Tesla shares fell by 1.1 percent following the note from J.P. Morgan.
Analyst Ryan Brinkman said in a new report: “We are reverting to valuing Tesla shares on the basis of fundamentals alone,” which entails a $113 reduction in our price target back to the $195 level where it stood prior to our August 8 note,” telling clients that the price target increase to $308 was based on a 50 percent probability that Musk had, in fact, obtained funding to take Tesla private at $420 a share.
“Our interpretation of subsequent events leads us to believe that funding was not secured for a going private transaction, nor was there any formal proposal,” stated Brinkman in his latest note. Brinkman cited Elon Musk’s blog post from August 13 in which he stated that the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund was now asking for “additional details” on how exactly Tesla would be taken private.
Brinkman stated: “The revelation the Saudi fund is subsequently asking Tesla for details of how the company would be taken private suggests to us that any deal is potentially far from even being formally proposed, which is different from our understanding on August 8 which was based on Mr. Musk’s statement on Twitter,” Brinkman said. “Tesla does appear to be exploring a going private transaction, but we now believe that such a process appears much less developed than we had earlier presumed (more along the lines of high level intention), suggesting formal incorporation into our valuation analysis seems premature at this time.”
Adding to worries that the Saudi Arabia fund may not, in fact, invest in taking Tesla private is a recent report claiming that the fund is in talks with Tesla rival Lucid Motors Inc. to invest in their electric car company. Reuters recently reported that the Saudi PIF was in talks with Lucid Motors to sign a deal worth approximately $1 billion that would give the PIF majority ownership in the company. This deal would also stay more in line with the PIF’s current financial situation, despite having approximately $250 billion in assets, much of that cash is not liquid and with other promises to invest in other endeavours such as the $45 billion the fund has promised to Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp technology fund, funding Tesla at around $70 billion to take the company private may not be as simple as initially seemed.
The PIF’s current talks with Lucid Motors may not result in a deal, but it does not bode well for direct competitor Tesla. A recent report from the New York Times claims that following the SEC’s inquiry into Musk’s tweets announcing that funding was secured to take the company private, the Tesla board and special committee of the board have each retained law firms. The special committee has also retained a crisis communications firm while other PR firms are currently looking for assignments.
Amidst all of this, Tesla CEO Elon Musk appears to have possibly broken up with his girlfriend, indie pop star Grimes. The pair appeared to unfollow each other on multiple social media platforms over the weekend. It would appear that Musk could be correct in his recent assessment that from a personal pain standpoint, he may be in for a rough few months. “I thought the worst of it was over — I thought it was,” said Musk in an interview with the New York Times. “The worst is over from a Tesla operational standpoint. But from a personal pain standpoint, the worst is yet to come.”