While whispers of a SpaceX IPO have been circulating since 2015, a fire was recently lit under the rumour mill rocket with a supposed insider leaking a report onto a trading forum. This was picked up by Teslarati, launching a frenzied discussion. A user by the name of Jushuatree provided very specific detail around the IPO, including the claim that Tesla shareholders would be given early access.
Since the initial leak, potential investors trying to cling on to the rumour have been brought back down to earth with SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell firmly denying there’s any intention to float the company. This denial is backed by the fact that SpaceX has not yet made an S-1 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. S-1 filings can take upwards of 30 days to review in addition to the time required to make requested amendments. For those new to the IPO game, the S-1 filing is a required filing that a company looking to list on the public markets in the US must make and have approved. Once the S-1 is completed and accepted, the company will begin its roadshow, which will see it presenting to institutional investors.
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To make things even more nebulous, the firm supposedly behind the rumour leak, Empire Capital Partners, has stated that the email they sent investors regarding the SpaceX IPO was done in an attempt to gather more interest in Tesla Inc. Empire Capital Partners confirmed that while they have no evidence of a pending SpaceX IPO, they do believe the best way to gain early interest in the potential IPO is through investment into Tesla.
A contract is a contract is a contract
SpaceX was founded by Elon Musk in 2002 with an injection of $100m of his own funds. The company has come light-years since then: in 2015 a funding round led by Google owner Alphabet valued SpaceX at $10bn, and it now employs more than 5,000 people. This valuation is largely justified by the multi-billion-dollar contract SpaceX signed with NASA to resupply and deliver astronauts to and from the international space station.
In addition to this highly lucrative contract, SpaceX holds a number of contracts with the Department of Defense, SES and Iridium, and for launching commercial satellites for the likes of Facebook and others.
Life on Mars
Beyond the current operations and capabilities, Musk has long since dreamed of building a human civilisation on Mars. He believes this can be achieved in his lifetime and through SpaceX he is intending to build a rocket capable of transporting large masses of people to Mars. In what it has called an Interplanetary Transport System, SpaceX is working on a rocket that is more than 40-stories tall, is reusable and can transport hundreds of people to the red planet. Building a rocket this powerful will cost a galactic amount – and precisely why many believe an IPO is in the stars for the young company.
Few would dare to dream of such a lofty project and yet even fewer are now likely to doubt Musk's capabilities, having watched him transform the solar market with solar city and the electric car market with Tesla. Now Musk is shooting for the moon; whether investors will be given the chance to back him through an IPO remains to be seen.
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