Elon Musk gets boost for Tesla-SolarCity merger, offers political punditry

Elon Musk continues to whip up support for Tesla’s merger with SolarCity, jumping on a CNBC show Friday and touting the synergies between a solar installer and a maker of autos and batteries.

The Tesla CEO also offered his skeptical take on presidential election. “I don’t think this is the finest moment in our democracy,” Musk told the financial network.

Telsa also got a boost on Friday from financial analyst Institutional Shareholder Services. ISS recommended the merger, worth north of $2 billion, and said Tesla would be able handle the cash needs of SolarCity, according to Bloomberg. The San Mateo solar installer has been burning cash and has struggled to turn a profit.

Shareholders will vote on the proposal Nov. 17. The backing of the deal from ISS sent Tesla and SolarCity shares up.

Musk took a minute on his CNBC appearance to weigh in on presidential politics. Hint — he’s not a Donald Trump fan.

The South African-born entrepreneur said he favors the environmental policies of Hillary Clinton over Trump. As the election has unfolded, Musk said, “I feel a lot stronger that he’s probably not the right guy.”

Musk has been stumping for his own cause in the past several weeks. In a conference call with analysts Tuesday, Musk, chairman of Tesla and SolarCity, and his cousin, SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, said the combined company would bring together two customer bases of nearly a half-million green consumers.

After the Q & A session, Baird senior analyst Ben Kallo put the merger into perspective: Tesla is buying a company that’s just one-tenth its size. “Over time,” Kallo said, “this becomes a smaller and smaller portion of the discussion.”


Photo: Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk speaks at a conference at the Paris Pantheon Sorbonne University as part of the United Nations Climate Change Conference on Dec. 2, 2015. Tesla is offering to buy SolarCity in an all-stock deal. (Francois Mori/AP)


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