Investors watch Tesla.

Author:Boggild, Lars


TESLA'S ANNOUNCEMENT that it will seek to acquire SolarCity for $US2.6-billion coincides with the announcement of its "Master Plan, Part Deux", a blog post outlining Tesla's plans to revolutionize the transportation sector in the years ahead. For all investors, this has been a moment of reflection and reconsideration, and for investors motivated by the environmental impacts of their investments, an opportunity to look around the bend on Tesla's ambition.

For those looking carefully, Tesla's corporate success to date has relied on the value investors place on Elon Musk's vision and strategy as much as anything else. According to the Nasdaq Composite Index, Tesla's stock price initially opened to the public at $19.20 in June 2010, and over the past year, has had a price of between $141 and $272-an appreciation of between 7 and 14 times on the original stock price. Nonetheless, Tesla has repeatedly missed its earnings and revenue targets, and yet many analysts continue to set growing target prices. Investors, both at the retail level like you and me, and institutions such as pensions and endowments, are clearly continuing to support the stock, buying into a vision for a very different energy system.

We see these same motivations at play in our work supporting impact investors to develop and deploy strategies for more of their money to advance their missions. Indeed, what distinguishes impact investors is the intention they have for their investments to generate positive impacts alongside a financial return, and clearly Tesla's investors aspire to similar positive impacts. This should come as no surprise, as some of the earliest investors in Tesla before it went public were impact investors such as DBL Partners....

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