Why Tesla Stock Skyrocketed -- and Got Halted

Editor's note: Shares resumed trading at 3:45 p.m. EDT and continued to rise before closing up 11%. Musk also posted on the Tesla blog.

What happened

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Shares of electric-car maker Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) have skyrocketed, up by 7% as of 2:30 p.m. EDT, after CEO Elon Musk suggested on social media that he may take the company private. The eccentric billionaire said that funding had already been "secured."

So what

At $420 per share, Tesla would be valued at approximately $70 billion. Such a deal would represent the largest leveraged buyout (LBO) in history, eclipsing the $33 billion LBO deal for hospital operator HCA last year. Trading of Tesla shares was halted pending the release of material news. No trade resumption time is currently listed.

Musk's SpaceX is also a private company, in part to spare the rocket manufacturer from short-term pressure from public investors.

Now what

In a series of follow-up tweets, Musk confirmed that one reason to go private would be to save "a lot of headaches." He also added that his "hope" was that all current investors could remain as investors even if Tesla were to go private, potentially by creating a "special purpose fund" similar to SpaceX's capital structure.

Under the theoretical deal, investors would have the option to sell their shares at $420 each or hold the shares as the company goes private. Musk also reiterated that he would remain on as CEO.

Later in the day, Musk posted on the company blog a copy of an email he said was sent to Tesla employees today. Noting that any proposal to go private would have to be approved by shareholders, it said in part:

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Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Tesla. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.