After spending most of August getting all hot and bothered about a manufactured soap opera from an electric car company that isn't otherwise very good at manufacturing, the financial press spent the weekend staring at its own narrative priapism and wondering what just happened. And now it's Monday!
Tesla shares fell on the first day of trading after CEO Elon Musk said he is ditching efforts to take the company private.
The electric car maker's stock was down 2 percent in early trading Monday. During premarket trading, it sank more than 5 percent. Musk announced in a blog post late Friday that consultations with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley convinced him that most of Tesla's shareholders opposed the privatization proposal.
Oh, the horror! Not only is Elon Musk not going to give us the next act of his batshit melodrama, he's endangering the company that provides shareholders with counter-logical value and the media with a constant stream of content!
But then again, no shit Sherlocks.
There is a bottomless pit of need inside of Elon Musk. He is a famous person who clearly loves being famous. He dates actresses and models and pop stars, he has famous friends, "accidentally" attends orgies, and is a Silicon Valley icon that lives in LA. He uses social media as a weapon against the press [aping the behavior of another attention-necessitous chief executive] and foments intense debate almost reflexively. Elon Musk might be an accidental cult leader, but he's fully embraced the role. So why would he ever want to take his cult private?
All the shenanigans about taking Tesla stemmed from a crazy - and likely law-bending - tweet that was probably also a weed joke and was maybe the byproduct of Elon's disastrous love life/possible addiction to sleeping aids. Then, while some people actually decided to use their time on a financial analysis of TSLA going private, Elon tried to make everyone believe that the world's largest petro-power was going to fund the future of his electric car company. Then he tried to finesse the timeline of his tweet, got mocked by the irony-proof folks over at SoftBank, feuded with a female rapper on social media after she blew up his spot, revealed to the NY Times that he's just a sad lonely boy who works too hard and cares too much, and then he hired Goldman Sachs to make it all look legit. And let's not even talk about his fucking Instagram account.
But he was never going through with it. Not even for a moment. And don't start protesting about "He wanted to go private!" or "The numbers could have worked!" because shut your mouth, you sound like an idiot right now.
The efficacy of a Tesla LBO, restructuring possibilities on the other side of a ticker symbol, the company's short-term vs long-term outlook, blah blah blah. NONE of it EVER mattered.
Tesla is a car company insofar as the Church of Scientology is a publishing company. The whole operation is predicated not on financial valuation but on the level of investor belief in Elon Musk. We've gone over this a lot, and we'll spare you another lecture, but this whole cavalcade of batshit nonsense is the purest evidence yet that TSLA does not move on its balance sheet, it moves on Elon's whims.
And here's the thing we never say out loud: Elon WANTS IT THIS WAY.
How could Elon Musk - business' messiest bitch who loves drama - ever satiate his need for attention without CNBC, analysts, earnings calls guest-scripted by Aaron Sorkin [the not-sober version] and a stock price that reflects his personal value to the world? From a financial standpoint, the LBO might have been a smashing success. Tesla kind of sucks as a public company and even the coolest cults eventually breed apostates. And the funding could have been secured eventually. People are fascinated by Tesla and many will throw money at it, but taking away his feuds with Tesla short-traders, Adam Jonas' fawning analyst reports and Verge reporter's snarky tweets would be tantamount to depriving Elon of oxygen.
Tesla will remain a public company not because it makes sense to stay public, but because the man who embodies it cannot stand to be private.