Elon Musk says SpaceX IPO this year is "not likely"

January 24 2013 11:22:47 PM | by Clark Lindsey, Managing Editor

Elon Musk is in no hurry to take SpaceX public:

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Comments (19)

Andrew Platzer
28th January 2013 1:57pm
Clark S. Lindsey
Thanks, Andrew!
28th January 2013 3:47pm
Rick Boozer
Did anyone see the Siemens commercial on Meet the Press this morning? The whole advertisement showed outtakes from the entire process of assembly of Falcon 9/Dragon from start to finish, launch and Dragon's arrival at ISS. The announcemer ended the commercial by saying something like, "the most innovative companies in th world use our software" I'm paraphrasing there.

The genie is truly out of the bottle!

27th January 2013 7:04am
Clark S. Lindsey
Missed it. I don't see it in the Siemens channel on Youtube but will try to remember to check back occasionally to see if they have posted it.
27th January 2013 11:48am
Bartosz Malinowski
As indicated in some of the stories linked by Clark some time ago, Spacex distraction from further revolutionizing the market by means of its hostile takeover is exactly what their (Russian) competition would eagerly like to see.
26th January 2013 5:49am
steven rappolee
I have suggested over a number of years that Elon sell a minority of the company to an ESOP, still even here an ESOP under ERISA is a shareholder in entitled to due diligence in company operations and risk taking. on the other hand the shareholders might be believers in that all of the shareholders would be employees who make a contribution to spaceX and this makes an ESOP a powerful tool indeed when it comes to motivating innovation. I would set up a leveraged ESOP where the ESOP borrows money Read More
25th January 2013 6:08pm
Coastal Ron
I worked for one of the largest Employee-owned companies a couple of decades ago. It certainly provided good employee motivation. Interestingly enough, new company leadership too the company public, and the value of the company tanked. coincidence? I think not.
25th January 2013 9:15pm
ElmarM
I knew it! He has said that before actually and over at the NSF forum, people called me stupid for saying that. Grrrrr!
25th January 2013 11:22am
Harry Tallhat
Brian, great point -- so I guess Elon took every single company he ever built (Zip2, Paypal, Tesla, Solar City) to exit or IPO because he wanted to destroy innovation. Dude, what are you smokin'?
25th January 2013 10:50am
Brian
He took those companies public because he was done with them - he achieved what he set out to achieve, and it didn't matter what happened from then on. SpaceX is something fundamentally different - a long-term proposition. There's a reason no one before SpaceX has done what they've done, and it isn't from lack of rich people trying. Business is degenerate when money is an end in itself, and that's all the stock market is about.
25th January 2013 8:35pm
Trent Waddington
Solar City is the odd one out there, as Elon has had no involvement.

As for Tesla, not much has changed since they went public because Elon is still CEO (and that's not going to change any time soon).

Paypal? Elon often talks about how barely 5% of his game plan for Paypal got implemented and they've basically given up their lead to competitors.

Zip2? Pretty damn good for a web directory.

Now, I don't necessarily disagree with your assessment, but some relevant examples would be good.

25th January 2013 10:28pm
Brian
Those are pretty good examples. My point is simply that all of the publicly-traded aerospace corporations have been complete failures at innovating rocketry and aircraft for decades. That's why the markets are an "exit" for entrepreneurs - at least when the whole company is offered rather than just portions - and not the beginning of radical change. Apple had to basically face extinction before it had let Steve Jobs back in the building to start innovating again.
26th January 2013 12:55pm
Bartosz Malinowski
The most important mission of Spacex from the point of view of their original mission ("revolutionize space transportation, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets") in fact requires making their competitors feel pressed hard enough to complete and operate their own means of reusable transport to LEO. This means war, which in turn neccessitates a visionary dictator. So I am quite glad about the news.
25th January 2013 4:39am
ii
Understandable. Once SpaceX goes public all the key personnel, the people who made SpaceX (Tom Mueller etc) will cash out and leave, so of course Elon wants to delay that as much as possible.
24th January 2013 11:26pm
Brian
Not to mention that the stock market is the most toxic thing to continuous innovation ever invented. Elon can sell some shares and still keep total control, but the moment SpaceX goes majority public, the revolution comes to a dead stop and SpaceX would spend the next 30 years marginally improving its current technology. Personally, I hope he doesn't do that until their 1000th customer lands on Mars.
25th January 2013 1:45am
steven rappolee
Brian,
privately held firms can have ESOP's by using "synthetic" shares
this allows the owner to retain more control over market volatility by not being in the public stock markets
25th January 2013 6:19pm
Roga
> Not to mention that the stock market is the most toxic thing to continuous innovation ever invented. Public companies adapt all the time. Sometimes not as fast as we'd like, but in general you either differentiate or add market share to increase profit, and the latter is a limited option. When/if SpaceX goes public, I would hope Elon takes the lessons from earlier experience and split the company. One half would be privately held or employee-held and own all the IP. The other half would Read More
26th January 2013 11:24pm
Brian
Public companies that are no longer run by a founder have the most incentive to change the least they can get away with. Money is no longer a tool, but the one and only purpose of every decision. Market exits are a form of taxidermy. That's why Boeing and Lockheed are such relics despite being hugely profitable from all their cost-plus contracts.
27th January 2013 3:21pm
steven rappolee
An ESOP or employee stock ownership plan would encourage employees to stay on and attract more new employees
25th January 2013 6:10pm
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