By CCN: The frustrating thing about con artists is that they just keep fleecing suckers until the liquidity dries up. In the case of Elon Musk and Tesla, it appears that there is still an ocean of suckers out there.
Fans of “What Will Elon Musk Lie About Next?” will not be surprised that Tesla’s announced $2.8 billion capital raise comes despite Elon Musk’s declaration that Tesla wouldn’t be raising any more capital.
Savvy followers of Tesla stock and Elon Musk expected this move, because Tesla had to pay off a $920 million bond in March.
Elon Musk’s Paltry Stock Buy Exposes Lack of Faith in Tesla
The Tesla stock capital raise includes the sale of $750 million of stock and $1.6 billion of senior convertible notes due in 2024. Of this amount, Musk is only going to buy $25 million worth of shares, which screams his lack of confidence in his own long-term plan.
Or maybe it’s because Elon Musk couldn’t afford to buy more Tesla stock. His latest debt disclosure shows that he owes more than $500 million to banks, which is collateralized by Tesla stock and by his own personal holdings.
— Machine Planet (@Paul91701736) May 3, 2019
Those banks include Morgan Stanley, which is underwriting the capital raise.
So in the crazy hall of mirrors of the Elon Musk carnival, it means that the banks Musk owes money to have a conflict of interest. They are hyping the capital raise, because that supports Tesla stock, which is what supports their loans to Elon Musk.
Elon Musk: P.T. Barnum’s Con Man Heir
The reason this is important is that Elon Musk knows how to hype his product, get big investment, make big promises, and ultimately fail to deliver on them. This forces investors to throw good money after bad, in order to keep their initial investment from possibly failing. Before long, they’ve invested far more than they ever intended.
A Tesla capital raise wouldn’t be complete without another astonishing Elon Musk statement. Via Musk’s tweet below, he claims that the auto-driving option on Tesla vehicles will increase over time.
Please note that the price of the Tesla Full Self-Driving option will increase substantially over time
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 13, 2019
This is patently ridiculous. Cars are depreciating assets. Cars lose value over time, no matter how many bells and whistles they may have. Not only that, self-driving features will soon become a commodity because many cars will have it. Commodities never appreciate in value.
This all assumes that Tesla will even perfect driverless cars one day.
Tesla Mantra: Look at This Shiny Object!
Yet this is how Elon Musk operates. He makes a grand claim about some pie-in-the-sky product. During the development of that product, he makes another grand claim on top of it. Magicians call this “misdirection”. He encourages investors to look even further out to take their attention away from the near-term goal, which is flailing.
Tesla investors have seen this over and over. Elon Musk announced a Tesla pickup truck, and talks about how excited he is about it.
No, that unveil is later this year
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 3, 2019
Last October, he told investors during the earnings call:
“[The truck will be] next-level and is the project I’m most excited about…[the design] will be heart-stopping, like a really futuristic-like cyberpunk, ‘Blade Runner’ pickup truck. I actually don’t know if a lot of people will buy this pickup truck or not, but I don’t care.”
What other company could get away with using shareholder money to design a product, and then have the CEO say that he doesn’t care if it sells or not?
For now, investors continue to enjoy being conned.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.