LIKE most technology tycoons, Elon Musk exudes disdain for finance. Convertible bonds and lease accounting are problems for Wall Street, while the visionaries in California focus on driverless cars and space travel. Yet while he might be loth to admit it, Mr Musk has become America’s most audacious corporate financier as well as its best-known entrepreneur. In just over a decade he has created an empire valued at a cool $44 billion despite its heavy losses (see chart). A blend of financial laboratory, corporate labyrinth and buttock-clenching thrill ride, Musk Inc has pushed the boundary of what was thought possible.
As has been the case for a decade, Mr Musk’s businesses face a difficult struggle to sustain their market valuations over the next 18 months, and to bolster confidence he is expected to unveil new financial measures and also new products over the next few weeks. Mr Musk has repeatedly defied the odds. But…Continue reading