Elon Musk decides to keep Tesla public, board agrees

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Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk at Tesla Store opening in Westfield Mall, London, Oct 2013

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk at Tesla Store opening in Westfield Mall, London, Oct 2013

After a 17-day roller coaster, Tesla [NASDAQ: TSLA] CEO Elon Musk announced Friday via a blog post on the automaker’s website that Tesla will remain a publicly traded company.

The announcement comes more than two weeks after Musk tweeted his idea of taking Tesla private at $ 420 per share and said funding for the move was secure.

Musk said Tesla will remain public as “it’s apparent that most of Tesla’s existing shareholders believe we are better off as a public company.” He said institutional investors may be prohibited from owning significant portions of a private company.

Musk said taking Tesla private would be “challenging,” and “more time-consuming and distracting” than he initially thought. Musk said the Silicon Valley automaker would focus on Model 3 production and profitability.

Tesla’s board met with Musk on Thursday and were informed of his decision to keep the automaker public. Six members of the nine-member board released a statement late Friday confirming Musk met with the board and that the board would dissolve its committee to go private.

The CEO quickly became in hot water with the Securities and Exchange Commission after his Aug. 7 tweet that floated taking Tesla private and “funding secure” before any regulatory filings or board statement.

Tesla has received inquiries from the SEC, potentially to validate Musk’s funding claim or to investigate potential stock manipulation.

The SEC’s inquiries into Musk’s statement did little to stop the CEO from doubling down on his “funding secured” comment. On Friday, he said he believes there is “more than enough funding to take Tesla private.”

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