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Elon Musk: SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet business won’t go public for another 3 or 4 Years

CNBC has discovered that Elon Musk warned SpaceX workers last week that the company’s Starlink satellite internet service is unlikely to go public until 2025 or later, delaying the expected timeframe for an IPO once more. “I’m not sure precisely when that [IPO] is, but maybe it will be like — I don’t know, just guessing — three or four years from now,” Musk said Thursday during an all-hands meeting of the private company’s workers, according to an audio recording acquired by CNBC.

A “smooth sailing condition” with “excellent predictability” is a priority for Musk, as he has said before. At that moment, SpaceX’s CEO remarked, “I believe spinning it out as a public business might make a lot of sense”. In spite of repeated inquiries from a wide range of investors about owning a piece of SpaceX, a company that remains privately traded, the newest delay has occurred. According to an email received by CNBC from Musk to SpaceX staff, he had planned to make an offering as soon as this year.

The email, written by Musk in May 2019, said that “taking Starlink public in around three years or so” was “probably the best option.” As a result, Musk pushed back his original estimate, stating in a tweet last year that “at least a few years before Starlink income is reliably predictable,” adding that “coming public sooner than that would be extremely unpleasant.” CNBC contacted SpaceX about Musk’s statements, but the company did not answer right away.

SpaceX’s Starlink network is planned to offer high-speed internet to all corners of the planet through thousands of low-Earth orbiting satellites. More than 400,000 people throughout the globe now subscribe to Starlink, according to the business. About 2,500 satellites have been launched by SpaceX so far to assist the system.

It is estimated that SpaceX generates more than $500 million in yearly income from its Starlink services, while only offering a limited selection of goods and services. In his Thursday remarks, Tesla CEO Elon Musk urged staff to avoid thinking of going public as a “guaranteed road to wealth.” When you don’t fulfill expectations, the public markets “really pistol-whip you,” he remarked. “The public markets are finicky,” he said.

Publicly listed corporations have had an often difficult relationship with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. As part of a settlement agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018, he agreed to pay millions in fines for fraud charges related to a failed attempt to take Tesla private.

In addition, he is now engaged in a dispute with Twitter over a plan to take the firm private. Thursday, he warned SpaceX staff that “being public is obviously an invitation to hardship,” he said. In addition, “the stock price is a distraction.” There are still billions of dollars being raised by SpaceX to create Starlink and the massive Starship rockets that will be launched from it. Since then, the company’s value has risen to $127 billion.

Source: CNBC

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Written by Alex Bruno

Freelance space writer Alex Bruno specializes in covering China's quickly expanding space industry. In 2021, he started writing for SpaceXMania. He also contributes to publications including SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, and New Scientist. When Alex was a small child, he first experienced the space bug after seeing Voyager photographs of alien planets in our solar system. When not in space, Alex likes to go trail jogging in the Finnish countryside.

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