Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, has made an offer to acquire SolarCity, which manufactures solar panels. Elon Musk is the largest shareholder in both companies, with 27% and 23%, respectively, of the shares. That makes sense, since he founded and runs both of the companies. Some have seen this announcement as a sort of “bailout” for SolarCity, which saw its shares drop 60% this year. The acquisition would allow Musk to convert shares at a favorable rate, or allow Tesla to give SolarCity bridge loans.
That all makes sense, but the use of the word “bailout” makes it sound kind of desperate. Musk might have a longer plan in mind, though, as back in 2012 he mentioned the idea of creating a holding company to hold all his companies, which would allow him to shift funds between SolarCity, Tesla, and SpaceX as needed. It would also allow for much easier synergy between the three, which could be especially useful once SpaceX is going to Mars or handling manned flights for NASA.
That’s more in line with what Musk has said about the deal so far, and it seems like further integration of Tesla and SolarCity products is the end goal at the moment. It makes sense that solar panels and electric cars could, and maybe should, be integrated. It would still allow for a bridge loan now and then, if needed.
All of this, of course, is dependent upon shareholders approving it, and a vote is expected soon. Musk himself will be abstaining from the vote, which takes his shares out of consideration, because he has a vested interest in the acquisition happening. That means the acquisition, if it happens, will be one that comes at the hands of the other people in charge of the companies. This would imply that Musk really is doing this for the betterment of the companies and not his own bank accounts.