First Elon Musk said he had hired Goldman Sachs (along with a bunch of other advisors), even though the bank initially denied it had been formally retained. Then, moments ago Fox Biz News’ Charlie Gasparino reported that Elon Musk had also retained Morgan Stanley to assist him in his “funding unsecured” bid to take Tesla private.
— Charles Gasparino (@CGasparino) August 23, 2018
Bloomberg adds that Morgan Stanley is advising Musk, not the company, its board or a special board committee formed to to evaluate a potential take-private proposal.
The news hit two days after Morgan Stanley said it had become restricted on the stock (and one week after Goldman), which sent the stock higher amid renewed hopes that between Morgan Stanley and Goldman, someone would be able to take Tesla private.
Morgan Stanley’s Tesla analyst Adam Jonas, has been one of the more “colorful” commentators in the name, and until recently he was a major Tesla bull: his price target was as high as $379 before he cut it to below $300 in recent weeks.
Pundits have speculated that with the SEC already poking around, advisor banks would be especially careful with their process and especially careful if the MBO process is a dead end, and they have to raise capital for the company with the scandalous CEO.
Musk stunned markets on August 7 when he tweeted that he wanted to take the electric-car maker private and had “funding secured.” The tweet promptly drew a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
By hiring both Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley, Musk has tied up the top two merger advisers in the U.S. this year. The two banks have been lead underwriters on most of the company’s stock and convertible debt offerings, although with Goldman going to “Sell” not too long ago, it is surprising that Musk didn’t veto the name. As for Morgan Stanley, which is one of Tesla’s 20 largest shareholders, it is also the lender of Musk’s stock loan, with its latest exposure at $344.4 million backed by TSLA shares, so – hardly conflict-free – it faces additional pain if Tesla stock crashes.