We recently asked if the Tesla IPO is for you, and the results of that poll are about even. Just over half of you (51.4 percent as of this writing) think that investing in the electric car start-up is a good idea. Over at Businessweek, our friend Josie Garthwaite looks at how a Tesla IPO fits into the venture capital and green scenes. If it happens, it'll be the first automaker to go public since Ford did so a half-century ago, and it comes at an interesting time in the markets. The short version is that "public offerings now serve more as "financing events" for alternative energy and other cleantech startups, rather than as a way for investors and founders to cash in on equity." After more than $200 million in financing and $465 million in DOE low-interest loans, raising money from an IPO is a logical step.
To compare, A123's recent IPO had a great opening but then came back down. Garthwaite says that A123's venture capital investors averaged a four-fold return on their money, which isn't at all bad in today's economy, but doesn't come close to the returns of the dot com era (isn't this sort of a good thing, given "irrational exuberance" and all that?).
As for what the Tesla shares might be worth or how many there are, read this, and do some research before investing anything.