Shareholders give green light to $2.6B merger of Tesla, SolarCity

"We want you to call your neighbors over and say, 'Check out this sweet roof,'" Tesla CEO Elon Musk said
By Stephen Feller  |  Updated Nov. 17, 2016 at 9:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- Shareholders for Tesla and SolarCity approved a proposed merger of the companies on Thursday, giving Elon Musk the means to sell and install the solar panel roof tiles he unveiled at a recent event.

Musk's now-approved purchase of SolarCity for $2.6 billion and his plan to combine it with Tesla will allow the company to sell systems that generate electricity using the roof tiles to power homes and charge electric cars.

"Tesla's shareholders have overwhelmingly approved our acquisition of SolarCity," the electric automaker said in a statement. "Excluding the votes of Elon and other affiliated shareholders, more than 85% of shares voted were cast in favor of the acquisition. With SolarCity's shareholders also having approved the acquisition, the transaction will be completed in the coming days."

Musk, Tesla CEO and chairman and the largest shareholder of both companies, plans to create an integrated clean-energy company built around the solar panels and batteries installed in customers' homes.

In October, Musk debuted glass solar panels as the cornerstone of a solar-powered home ecosystem. The panels, expected to be available next summer, are available in several styles to make them attractive to customers.

"We want you to call your neighbors over and say, 'Check out this sweet roof,'" Musk said

Electricity generated by the roof tiles is intended to be stored by Tesla's Powerwall 2 battery, which is expected to cost $5,500 and store up to 14 kWh of surplus solar energy. The batteries will supply energy to homes and charge Tesla's cars when the sun is not out to power them.

The merger, first announced in August, is expected to be beneficial for both companies, as analysts say the merger is necessary in order for Musk to turn Tesla into a sustainable company.

Separately, Tesla and SolarCity have seen slow growth in their revenue but Musk expects SolarCity's revenue to grow from about $711 million this year to more than $1 billion next year. Musk thinks the immediate benefits of the super-tough glass panels on the roof -- and the fact that a solar roof may be less expensive to install than a traditional one -- could be an easy sell.

"The basic proposition will be: Would you like a roof that looks better than a normal roof, lasts twice as long, costs less and, by the way, generates electricity?" Musk said. "That's looking really promising, and I think there's even room for improvement beyond there."

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