Tesla Motors (
) attracted heavy investor interest as it priced its initial public
offering after trading on Monday, selling 13.3 million shares for
$17 each. That represents 14 percent of the company and gives Tesla
a healthy market capitalization of almost $1.6 billion.
Tesla will become the newest stock on the NASDAQ exchange, and its
IPO is being characterized as a major success by analysts and
experts. Initially, the company had planned on selling 11.1 million
shares in the range of $14 to $16.
There are causes for caution and concern in the experimental car
maker's offering. First, the company has had several years of
negative revenue and its mass-market sedan, the Model S, is still
several years away. In the meantime, it has only the sales of its
Roadster and Roadster sport models to sustain it. Both are
exclusive, low-volume sports cars.
The company has also been fraught with bad luck, with several of
its executives dying in a tragic plane crash earlier this year. In
2009, a problem with Lotus' chassis necessitated a recall of many
Still, Tesla is a unique company, the first U.S. automaker to
conduct an IPO since Ford in 1956. If the technology manifests
itself in an affordable, luxurious sedan it could alter the way
people commute forever.