SolarCity Corp., the developer of rooftop solar power systems whose chairman is Elon Musk, is preparing to file for an initial public offering, three people with knowledge of the matter said.
The San Mateo, California-based company, which lost a U.S. loan guarantee in the wake of Solyndra LLC’s bankruptcy, may file with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as early as next month, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The IPO may value the company at more than $1.5 billion, the person said.
The offering would catapult Musk, 40, into the ranks of the world’s billionaires. He owns a 26 percent stake in electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc. worth more than $650 million as of yesterday’s market close, after adjusting for collateralized shares. His 25 percent stake in SolarCity would be valued at $375 million at the valuation the company is seeking.
A phone call to Jonathan Bass, a spokesman for SolarCity, wasn’t immediately returned.
At $1.5 billion, the company would be valued at more than twice what research firm GSV Insight estimated in December. On secondary exchange SharesPost Inc., the most recent SolarCity transaction was on Jan. 1, at $23 a share, giving the company an implied valuation of $828 million. In November, SolarCity said it would move forward on a $1 billion solar rooftop project for military housing with financing from Bank of America Corp.
Musk owns more than 70 million shares of closely held rocket maker Space Exploration Technologies Corp., also known as SpaceX. Recent transactions in the private market have pegged his stake in the company at about $875 million.
SolarCity was founded in 2006 by brothers Lyndon Rive, the company’s chief executive officer, and Peter Rive, chief operations and technology officer, Musk’s cousins.
The company’s projects are financed with partners including Google Inc. and Citigroup Inc. SolarCity’s backers include Mayfield Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DBL Investors and Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management LLP.
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