Daimler, parent company of Mercedes, was instrumental in rescuing Tesla from financial collapse back in 2009, taking a 9% stake in the electric carmaker and establishing a partnership.
Five years and $US29 billion of market cap later, Daimler is now selling off that stake, which for financial reasons has been reduced to 4%.
Daimler will make $US780 million on the transaction — but not bail out on Tesla’s future.
“Our partnership with Tesla is very successful and will be continued,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Daimler’s chief, in a statement.
Tesla’s tie-up with Daimler was extraordinarily useful for the electric carmaker at a time when many observers of the auto industry thought Musk’s company didn’t stand a chance. Daimler provided investment and acted as a customer, using Tesla’s drivetrain technology when Musk was still selling only a two-seat, high-performance Roadster.
Tesla needed support to stay in business and get its next vehicle, the Model S sedan, into production. It also needed to prove to the Department of Energy that the company was viable, in order to obtain a nearly $US465-million loan guarantee.
Since it’s IPO in 2010, a year after Daimler bought in, Tesla has seen its share price skyrocket by over 1,000%. Shares closed on Tuesday at $US235.
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