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Inside Automotive

Inside Automotive (Aug 8th, 2018)

Today's issue of Inside Automotive was made possible by Zemax

1. Tesla CEO Elon Musk offered more details about his plan to take the automaker private. In an email to employees, that was later published publicly on Tesla’s website, Musk said a final decision has not been made, but would make the move to create the best possible environment for Tesla. “As a public company, we are subject to wild swings in our stock price that can be a major distraction for everyone working at Tesla, all of whom are shareholders,” Musk writes. He also believes that as a public company, people have incentive to attack the company, as it is the most shorted stock in the history of the market. Musk laid out the transition plan for the possible move: investors can stay as shareholders in the private company or be bought out at the suggested $420 per share price, which is 20 percent premium over the stock price following the company’s Q2 earnings call. Musk said employees would periodically have the ability to sell their shares and exercise options. “Basically, I’m trying to accomplish an outcome where Tesla can operate at its best, free from as much distraction and short-term thinking as possible, and where there is as little change for all of our investors, including all of our employees, as possible,” he wrote. The proposal would be finalized through a vote of the company’s shareholders. — TESLA BLOG

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2. Tesla CEO Elon Musk shared more details on the company's possible transition to a private company through Twitter. 

In response to a tweet asking about shareholders being forced to sell their stock: “Def no forced sales. Hope all shareholders remain. Will be way smoother & less disruptive as a private company. Ends negative propaganda from shorts.”

Musk also hopes that existing shareholders stay involved in the private company: “My hope is *all* current investors remain with Tesla even if we’re private. Would create special purpose fund enabling anyone to stay with Tesla. Already do this with Fidelity’s SpaceX investment.” 

Musk also reiterated that funding is available for the transaction: “Investor support is confirmed. Only reason why this is not certain is that it’s contingent on a shareholder vote.” — TWITTER

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3. Tesla’s August surge has cost short sellers $3 billion. $TSLA has surged about 27 percent this month, due to a rally after the company’s Q2 earnings call and Musk’s push to make the company go private. Famously, as mentioned by Musk in his email to employee, $TSLA is the most shorted stock on the market, with prominent hedge fund managers including Steve Eisman betting against Tesla. According to an analysis from S3 Partners, this has cost short sellers about $3 billion. “If the market believes that Elon Musk's financing is in place and the chances of a buyout is high, we should see short covering in size, driving Tesla's stock price higher in the short term as short sellers attempt to close out their positions at lower than the $420 takeout price," Ihor Dusaniwsky, a managing director at S3 Partners, told Business Insider. — BI

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4. Your feedback on Tesla going private. Yesterday, we asked our readers what they thought about Tesla’s shift to a private company. For the most part, our readers thought the change would be a positive for Tesla. 

Ross A., a self-proclaimed Model X “fanboy” and says he is long on $TSLA, said: “Taking TSLA private at $420?  It would be delightful to see TSLA short-sellers ruined once and for all. Betting on failure?  Be careful what you wish for.” 

Ken R. wrote: “Yes, look no further than SpaceX success. These sea change technologies take longer than Wall Street quarters scale.”

Lori N. said: “Yes, Tesla should go private. The short sellers, Big Three, oil companies and media jerks trying to bait Musk into melting down are wasting his energy.  People should profit from investing in Tesla because they believe in the vision and the mission.” 

Mark A. wrote: “It would be a great move by Tesla and we would not be selling our Tesla stock.”

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5. Chinese electric car company Byton has held partnership talks with Didi. Chinese electric car company Byton is in talks to collaborate with Didi on a brand-specific ride-hailing service. CEO Carsten Breitfeld told The Information that the alliance would allow Didi riders to hail Byton vehicles, which would offer passengers personally tailored services and entertainment. Byton hopes to launch a fully-autonomous car by 2021. A Didi spokesperson declined to comment on the collaboration. — THE INFORMATION

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6. Lior Ron is returning to Uber. Ron — a co-founder of Otto, which was acquired by Uber in 2016 — exited Uber earlier this year, where he served as the head of Uber Freight. Now, Ron will once again lead Uber Freight, which helps independent truckers find gigs hauling freight. "After a great summer vacation with my family and friends, I'm back to work leading Uber logistics business, rolling my sleeves on a problem space..." he tweeted. — CNN 

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7. Scale, a startup that helps autonomous vehicle software developers label data, has raised an $18 million funding round. The company’s Series B round is led by Index Ventures, Accel and Y Combinator, with involvement from Justin Kan and Drew Houston. The company uses a combination of human data labelers and machine learning algorithms to sort through raw streams of data from autonomous vehicle developers like Lyft, GM’s Cruise Automation, Zoox, Voyage, nuTonomy and Embark, returning scalable datasets. — VENTURE BEAT

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8. Bird and Lime are lobbying government officials to launch their services in the UK. Legislation banning scooters on British sidewalks and streets currently exists — they have been in place for over 100 years. However, Business Insider found that both Lime and Bird have held calls and meetings this year with London's transport regulator, Transport for London, to launch pilots in the city. The documents, obtained by the publication through a Freedom of Information request, show that Bird is in discussions with regulators to change the legislation. Bird recently expanded to its first international market. — BI

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9. Uber Eats will begin shifting to delivery fees based on distance. The company previously charged a flat rate for all restaurants, regardless of how far the restaurant was the user. — CNET

10. Tesla showed off its robotic paint applicator on Twitter. — TWITTER

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This newsletter was written and curated by Johan Moreno. Johan is based out of Los Angeles, CA and has covered technology and automotive extensively for a variety of publications, including The Orange County Register. Follow him on Twitter @dudejohan

Editing team: Lon Harris (editor-in-chief at Inside.com, game-master at Screen Junkies), Krystle Vermes (Breaking news editor at Inside, B2B marketing news reporter, host of the "All Day Paranormal" podcast), and Susmita Baral (editor at Inside, recent bylines in NatGeo, Teen Vogue, and Quartz. Runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram).

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