Lots of investors have made money in Tesla Motors. Few more than Daimler, as the company announced it had exited its position today.
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In total, Daimler nets a cool "cash inflow" of $780 million (about $1.26 billion net before deductions) for the remaining balance of its stake taken pre-IPO in 2009.
At one time the German company owned as much as 9.1% of Tesla, but (unwisely) offloaded about 40% of that to Aabar Investments not too long after. Earlier this year, Daimler still owned a reported 4.3% of the company.
This transaction does not affect the working relationship between the two companies, as Tesla will continue to manufacture the electric drivetrain found in the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive.
“We are extremely satisfied with the development of our investment in Tesla, but it is not necessary for our partnership and cooperation. For this reason, we have decided to divest of our shares. This will also allow Tesla to broaden its investor base.” - Bodo Uebber, a member of the Daimler’s board of management. (via WSJ)
“Our partnership with Tesla is very successful and will be continued,” Daimler Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche added. The CEO also noted earlier this year that the company's position in Tesla was "...one of the best investments we have ever made."
Naturally the question to analysts and stock owners alike after the announcement was "What does Daimler know that we don't?", especially as the company had announced plans at the start of the year to retain their stake in Tesla for "at least three years", but we will leave that up to the Wall Street chaps to decide.
Just to make sure no one misunderstood Daimler's plug-in intentions, Mr. Zetsche added:
”We pursue our strategy for emission-free driving consequently. Electric vehicles are one component of this roadmap. In Tesla we do have a bold partner."
The stock traded down about 3 percent on the news after hours, but had rebounded slightly by Tuesday night (real-time quote can be found here). Daimler says it plans to
put that money in a sock use the proceeds to strengthen Daimler's operational business.