The Federal Trade Commission has given its approval for Tesla Motors’ acquisition of the SolarCity power panel company, saying that the combination would create no antitrust concerns.
The go-ahead removes another hurdle to the $2.6 billion all-stock deal, which was proposed in June. Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is the largest investor in both companies. He’s the CEO of Tesla, and the chairman of SolarCity.
Musk argues that the deal will create a consumer-friendly, one-stop energy shop for electric cars, solar panels and battery storage systems.
The next hurdle is a vote by the disinterested shareholders of the two companies, which will exclude the shares held by Musk and other executives. That vote is expected to clear the way for the merger to take effect later this year.
Both Tesla and SolarCity have big initiatives they’re planning to roll out in the months ahead: Musk recently said Tesla’s “master plan” includes the introduction of an electric-powered Semi truck and a mass-transit vehicle, as well as the start of production for the $35,000-base-price Model 3 sedan.
Just this week, Tesla said it was beefing up the battery pack on its Model S P100D sedan to a capacity of 100 kilowatt-hours. That boost increases the range from 270 miles for the P90D to 315 miles, based on the EPA cycle. In Ludicrous mode, the Model S P100D goes from zero to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds, which Tesla said makes it the “quickest production car in the world” available today.
Meanwhle, SolarCity plans to offer integrated power-generating roofs in addition to the solar-power panels it has been installing on existing structures.
Neither company has yet become fully profitable, and the share prices for both companies trended downward in today’s trading. This week, Musk and other SolarCity executives reported that they purchased tens of millions of dollars worth of bonds issued by the company – a move that CNBC said stirred concerns among some industry observers.