Though Elon Musk, Tesla and SolarCity’s chairman and largest shareholder, has termed the proposal a “no-brainer,” the reality, at least for Tesla shareholders, is far more complex.
From a strictly financial perspective, the deal is something Tesla shareholderscan do without. Tesla, of course, has significant ongoing cash needs without the additional burden from SolarCity. Though Tesla showed $3.2 billion in cash on its balance sheet as of June 30, that money is expected to burn quickly as Tesla prepares to bring the Model 3 sedan into production. Capital expenditures alone are expected to total $1.75 billion for the second half of the year.
Adding the struggling solar-panel developer to the mix would make this problem worse. SolarCity spent $766 million on operating expenses last year, nearly twice as much as its total revenue. Through June of this year its expenses hit $265 million, 42% more than its revenue in the first two quarters. Worse still, SolarCity has more than $3 billion in long-term debt on its books. Tesla has said it would need to raise fresh capital before the year is out, despite raising nearly $2 billion in equity financing in May.
Avoiding that burden would give Tesla more financial flexibility to launch the Model 3 on time and on budget. A successful Model 3 launch is essential for Tesla to justify its valuation, and that task becomes more urgent as legacy auto makers roll out new competition for the Model 3.Read more "More Than Money at Stake in Tesla’s SolarCity Deal"