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Elon Musk commits to keeping Tesla public

When he tweeted earlier this month about taking the car company private, he said investors told him, "Please don’t do this."
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Elon Musk put two of the most tumultuous weeks in his public life behind him Friday by vowing that his car company, Tesla Inc., would remain a public concern.

The CEO said in a statement that investors urged him to keep the embattled electric carmaker on the open market, where it trades on the Nasdaq.

"Although the majority of shareholders I spoke to said they would remain with Tesla if we went private, the sentiment, in a nutshell, was 'please don’t do this,'" he said.

The Tesla board of directors released a separate statement, saying it agreed with the decision.

" ... We fully support Elon as he continues to lead the company moving forward," the board said.

The chapter started Aug. 7 when Musk tweeted that he was "considering" taking the company private at an eyebrow-raising $420 a share. He also said he had secured funding for the move.

The tweet sparked a social media firestorm, catching investors and board members off guard and prompting the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to launch an inquiry because of strict federal rules on a public company revealing major moves to the stock-holding world at large.

A key question was whether the 47-year-old billionaire may have misled investors about having the backing to take Tesla private. The announcement immediately boosted Tesla's stock price before short sellers had a field day as it dipped in the aftermath.

Speculation turned to Musk's state of mind.

Singer Azealia Banks said on Instagram that she had been with Musk at his Bel Air home when he tweeted the proposal to take Tesla private. She implied that he had been on acid, which Musk has denied.

In a bombshell New York Times interview last week, Musk called the saga part of an “excruciating” year.

Musk said going private would be too time-consuming and would prevent some of his most loyal investors from joining the venture because of "internal compliance issues that limit how much they can invest in a private company."

"Given the feedback I’ve received, it’s apparent that most of Tesla’s existing shareholders believe we are better off as a public company," he said in the statement.

But he remained defiant.

"That said, my belief that there is more than enough funding to take Tesla private was reinforced during this process," Musk said.