Tesla went public ten years ago today, pricing shares at $17, higher than its expected range of $14 to $16.
The company raised around $226 million in its IPO, with shares surging that day by around 41% to close at $23.89. Today, shares in the electric vehicle maker closed at $1,009.35, meaning Tesla’s stock has risen by 4,125 % since the close of its first day as a public company.
That stock performance puts Tesla in rarified air, alongside Netflix, which was the top-performing stock on the S&P 500 during the 2010s. (Netflix rose 4,181% between Jan. 2010 and Dec. 2019. But Netflix shares more than doubled in price between Jan. 2010 and June 2010, when Tesla went public. That means Netflix has “only” gained 2,657% in value since Tesla’s debut.) It also means Tesla stock has outperformed other big tech names like Amazon and Apple, as well as all the major automakers.
The stock has had plenty of ups and downs along the way, including a 30% drop in the month after Aug. 7, 2018, when a CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he had “funding secured” to take the company private. The SEC accused Musk of misleading the public, as he allegedly knew the funding was contingent, and both Musk individually and Tesla as a company paid $20 million fines to settle the suit.
But shares have been on a rally since early 2020, as Tesla got its factory in Shanghai up and running and began manufacturing the Model Y at its original U.S. car plant in Fremont, California. Investors also bought into the company’s promises to deliver an electric semi truck called the Semi, electric pickup truck known as the Cybertruck and improvements in self-driving technology. Despite the Covid-19 epidemic, which shut down production in its California factory for several weeks, shares are up more than 140% this year.
Since going public, Tesla has never achieved a full year of profitability. The company has reported seven quarters with net income greater than zero, since its IPO — the first was Q1 of 2013. It has now reported three consecutive quarters of GAAP profit, with some accounting adjustments along the way, and is scheduled to report Q2 earnings next month.
Tesla is now gunning for inclusion in the S&P 500, which requires a minimum of four consecutive quarters of profitability, among other things.