UPDATE: Elon Musk tweet about taking Tesla private causes market chaos

$420 is the magic number. This is not a joke ... we think.

UPDATE: Tesla has released an official statement from Elon Musk regarding his tweet. Basically, he is very serious about having the company go private at $420 a share, and it appears that price is coincidental, as he mentions that it's 20 percent above the price after the second quarter earnings call. But while he's serious about the possibility, it's still just that, a possibilty. A final decision hasn't been made yet. According to another Musk tweet, the final decision is contingent on a shareholder vote.

As for why Musk is considering this, he lists a few reasons. First, he doesn't want the company to be distracted by stock prices and keeping them up or increasing. He also doesn't want the company to be under pressure to show positive results each quarter, instead preferring to focus on long-term goals. Finally, he's still fearful of Tesla attackers and people that are shorting Tesla stock, and pulling it off the market would supposedly make the company less of a target for Tesla detractors.

A few final notes in the statement mention that Tesla and SpaceX would not merge. It details how existing shareholders would still be welcome to stay shareholders, and the buyout is just an option. Those that remain in the privatized company would have options to buy or sell stock every six months. Additionally, Tesla stock has resumed trading, and at the time of this update, the price has increased to a little over $370 a share.

Another day, another Elon Musk tweet that sets the world on fire. Today, Musk tweeted that if Tesla Motors stock prices hit $420 a share, he would buy out shares and take the company private. He also mentions he has funding secured.

The question of course is, is he serious or is he joking? At first glance sure seems like it's a joke, since the number "420" is closely related to marijuana use, and it comes up a lot in jokes on the internet. But on the other hand, it would also seem odd that he would also say that he secured funding to handle a buyout. Plus a subsequent tweet details options for a buyout or for holding onto the stock when going private. One would think that would obfuscate the joke and bring about needless complication and concern from others. But hey, Musk has a track record of ill-considered tweets.

Investors seem to be betting that the tweet is real. Not long after the tweet went out, Financial Times reports stock prices started rising again. At previous closing, shares were just under $342 a piece, and at the time of publishing, they've risen above $360 before being halted a bit after 2:00 PM, according to CNBC. Clearly investors are excited at the thought of a buyout at a much higher price than they paid for the stock. Which, yes, is how the stock market is supposed to work.

Now that the tweet has had an effect on Tesla's stock price, there might be some more serious consequences. Kai Ryssdal, host of NPR's Marketplace business news show, seems to think Musk could be in trouble with the SEC. Others are suggesting that the tweet might be prohibited market manipulation, even if it's not a joke.

CNN Money estimates it will cost over $70 billion to buy out Tesla at the high $420 per share price. At least Musk would be able to take solace in the fact he wouldn't be as beholden to investors and their "boring" questions about important topics and information.

Regardless of what's actually meant by Musk's tweet, we're sure we haven't heard the end of this little stock story, for better or for worse.

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