Tesla Death Watch 34: Convertible and Carefree. Or is That Car-Free?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Reuters reports that Tesla Motors has secured $40m in additional financing from existing investors. The electric sportscar firm had less than $10m in the bank as of a few days ago, but CEO Elon Musk is still convinced that Tesla has nothing to worry about. “Forty million is significantly more than we need,” Musk said in a statement. “However, the board, investors and I felt it was important to have significant cash reserves.” Except that Tesla failed to secure a $100m round of financing just a month ago, triggering the current cash crisis which has claimed a quarter of Tesla’s workforce and all of its development work. And if you aren’t already bearish on Tesla, consider that the latest round of financing comes in the form of convertible debt. This financing option is described here, but the major benefits to Tesla are that it does not have to place a value on the struggling firm (can you say “upside down?”) and it protects early “angel” investors. What we don’t know is what the “trigger” for this convertible debt is, whether it is filling a specific number of orders, reaching certain financial goals, or what. Whatever the trigger is, whenever it happens, the folks who just ponied up $40m better hope Tesla is in much better shape when that debt converts to equity. If the debt ever converts to equity. Ultimately this news is only good for one category of filth people: lawyers. Convertible debt is notorious for requiring near constant legal oversight. Whatever it takes, right?

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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