Elon Musk has stated that an IPO of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service is still three to four years away.
Elon Musk informed SpaceX employees last week that the company’s Starlink satellite internet service is unlikely to go public until 2025 or later, according to CNBC, stretching the expected timescale for an IPO even further.
“I’m not sure when that [IPO] will happen, but I’m estimating three or four years from now,” Musk said during an all-hands meeting of the private company’s employees on Thursday, according to an audio recording acquired by CNBC.
Musk highlighted, as he has before, that the Starlink company must be “smooth sailing” with “excellent predictability.” At that point, “I think spinning it out as a public corporation might make a lot of sense,” the SpaceX CEO stated.
The current delay comes despite persistent inquiries from a wide range of investors over the years in owning a piece of SpaceX, a company that is still privately traded.
According to an email received by CNBC from Musk, an offering may happen as soon as this year. Musk stated in an email written in May 2019 that “it would probably make sense to take Starlink public in around three years or so.”
Musk then revised his prediction, stating in a tweet last year that it would be “at least a few years before Starlink revenue is reliably predictable,” and that “being public sooner than that would be very difficult.”
CNBC’s request for comment on Musk’s statements was not immediately responded to by SpaceX.
SpaceX’s Starlink network is meant to bring high-speed internet anywhere on the planet via thousands of low-Earth orbit satellites. Starlink currently has over 400,000 customers worldwide, the business announced late last month. To present, SpaceX has launched over 2,500 satellites to support the system.
While SpaceX provides a wide range of Starlink goods and services, the base pricing of $110 per month and the company’s most current subscriber figures indicate yearly service revenue of more than $500 million.
Musk told staff on Thursday that “things coming public should not be thought of as, like, a definite road to wealth.”
“The public markets are capricious,” he says, and will “really pistol-whip you if you don’t satisfy expectations.”
Musk has had a tumultuous relationship with the rules that govern publicly listed firms. In 2018, he agreed to pay millions of dollars in settlement costs to the Securities and Exchange Commission in response to fraud allegations stemming from a failed effort to take his electric vehicle business Tesla private. He’s also battling Twitter over a plan to take the social media business private.
“Being public is an invitation to misery,” he said to SpaceX staff on Thursday. “And the stock price is simply a distraction.”
SpaceX is still raising billions of dollars to construct both Starlink and its massive Starship rockets. During its most recent investment round, the company’s valuation reached $127 billion.