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Shareholders to vote on Tesla-SolarCity merger next month

Tesla store
Tesla is looking to create its own ecosystem, this one centered on sustainable energy, solar panels and batteries.
(Kagan McLeod / For The Times)

Tesla and SolarCity shareholders will meet separately on Nov. 17 to decide whether the companies should merge.

SolarCity shareholders will vote in the morning, and Tesla shareholders in the afternoon, according to a new securities filing made public Wednesday.

The merger, announced in June and worth about $2.23 billion at current stock values, would combine the electric car company with the nation’s biggest solar roof installer.

Tesla on Wednesday called the deal the “first ever opportunity” to “generate, store and consume energy entirely sustainably, through a suite of integrated products that add aesthetics and function while reducing cost.”

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Elon Musk, chief executive at Tesla, chairman at SolarCity and a major investor at both, has painted a vision of attractive solar rooftops feeding energy into home-storage batteries, powering homes and electric cars.

To supporters, that’s a bold and visionary plan. Critics call the deal a misguided effort to rescue two companies that depend on investors and the government for operating cash.

At least seven lawsuits against the deal have been filed, but Tesla said the vote is on, litigation or not.

The companies have planned big events between now and the vote: SolarCity will introduce a solar roof on Oct. 28 – not just rooftop panels, but the roof itself. Meantime, Musk has promised an “unexpected” product unveiling on Oct. 17.

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Of more interest to investors, perhaps, the companies said they would offer “additional financial information” on the merger on Nov. 1.

Both companies have set aggressive plans, and both face huge challenges. SolarCity, like the entire solar industry, is struggling to find dependable ways to finance solar installation. Tesla is in the midst of a major expansion of its Fremont assembly plant, to build the mid-market Model 3, while simultaneously constructing a huge, $5-billion battery plant in the Nevada desert outside Reno.

russ.mitchell@latimes.com

Twitter: @russ1mitchell


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