Controlling the boards of both companies may have helped with the negotiations



 One of the essential texts for understanding how Musk became the world's richest man is this long-form expose by Bethany McLean (best known for her reporting on Enron). We've talked about this piece before, but it's worth revisiting given recent events.

Remember Musk's fortune is almost entirely based on the sudden spike in Tesla's stock price and his holdings in the company (though the bonus deal didn't hurt). I'm not a finance guy, so I may be missing something, but it appears that a big chunk of those holdings came from this deal (keep in mind, Tesla was trading around $40 at the time of the merger. As I'm writing this it's at $742).

 Emphasis added.

SolarCity was founded by two of Musk’s cousins, Lyndon and Peter Rive, who grew up with him in South Africa. Musk, who put in $10 million, was the largest shareholder and chairman of the board. The initial idea, the Rives explained, was not to be a manufacturer but rather to control the entire consumer experience of going solar, from sale to installation, thereby driving down costs. For a time, SolarCity was a hot stock, growing almost tenfold from its public offering in 2012 to its peak in early 2014.

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 But the initial success of the company’s stock masked some difficult realities. SolarCity’s business model was to front the costs of installing solar panels and allow homeowners to pay over time, which created a constant need for cash. That required raising money from (Read more...)