What if Elon Musk’s $420 dream hadn’t gone up in smoke?

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Last August, Elon Musk tweeted he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private. That turned out not to be true, and he eventually had to settle securities fraud charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Musk is still battling the SEC over that very same settlement, and it’s possible he will be held in contempt of court for allegedly violating it. With the decision looming, it’s worth asking: what if he had lined up funding? What did Musk stand to gain by turning Tesla, which has been publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange since 2010, back into a privately held company?

How could he have done it?

There are a few different ways Musk could have taken Tesla private. One of the most common ways would be to secure funding from a small group of institutional investors to buy out the company’s shareholders. Shareholders usually want a premium over the price of the shares at the time…

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