Friday, February 05, 2010

Google Might Be Investing in Electric Cars TNR.v, CZX.v, WLC.v, LI.v, RM.v, LMR.v, SQM, FMC, ROC, TT, TTM, BYDDY, NSANY, DAI, BMW, VLNC, PC, AONE, HEV

"Availability of serious capital for Better Place and Nissan is very encouraging. You have to make your homework right in order to find the right financing opportunities in Electric Cars value chain. Newcomers on Technology or Auto making side will be evaporated overnight by Toyota situation as it is today. It is time when very risky plays on Lithium and REE supply side could provide actually more security as a sector entry with at least technology risk minimised."

Tesla IPO will bring a lot of attention to the Electric Space. Google founders investing in it or even Google itself will bring the story out into the mass media headlines. Market has to climb the wall of worry and such high profile investors will bring necessary comfort for the investors to move into Electric Cars value chain - they will find out very soon that there is not enough pure plays for the magnitude of capital which could be involved. We will have situation in Gold, Majors and Juniors in 2003-2005: First capital moved into gold, than into Major producers and than Juniors took off with multiples to the market cap, when capital was chasing very small market with very hot stories.


Tesla wants to go public. But the electric car company, loved by California celebrities and nerds alike, had to first bare all to the SEC. So now we know Tesla is funded by a mysterious front company linked to Google.
Tesla registered with the SEC on Friday. Buried in the copious paperwork is the name of a very interesting "Series C" and "Series E" stockholder: Amphitheatre LLC. We first flagged this entity as a possible Google front when it invested in a zeppelin company started by Google advisor Esther Dyson. The same zeppelin company was later hired by 23AndMe, the Google-funded and -housed genetic testing firm co-founded by the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
Ampitheatre LLC may well have been acquired by Google along with the company INV Tax Group when Google bought its eight-building headquarters at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway and 1200-1500 Crittenden Lane in Mountain View. Ampitheatre LLC and INV Tax Group, then believed affiliated with Goldman Sachs, had been the shell companies that held the buildings.
It's hard to imagine why a real estate holding vehicle is now investing in zeppelins and electric cars if it's not controlled by Google. California records are little help; they show the LLC still registered to "INV Tax Group, 180 Maiden Lane, 40th floor," an address once linked to Goldman Sachs in a building now used by a wide array of companies.
Google's a logical investor, anyway, since its founders are already Tesla customers (see picture of Brin in his Tesla, left, by Zach Graves) and investors. Co-founder Larry Page even reportedly "jet pools" with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, and Google has an "electric car" section reserved in its parking lot (see picture at top by Tristan Nitot). It wouldn't be the first time Google co-invested with its founders; it followed Brin into his wife's 23AndMe.
Whether the Google honchos had their financial judgment clouded by the fact that they personally made it to the front of Tesla's fiercely competitive waiting list is something for Google shareholders to decide.
In so doing, they might consider another nugget buried in Tesla's S-1: The company has not yet stabilized its notoriously volatile executive ranks. Among the recent departures is general counsel Jonathan Sobel, formerly of Yahoo. Sobel started in September; he was gone by December. One tipster claims friction with Musk was to blame. The bigger question is whether Musk can forge more stable relationships with his co-workers going forward. Only time will tell. We'll be watching, and we bet Google will be, too.
(Top pic: A Tesla parked at Google headquarters, by Tristan Nitot. Second pic: Sergey Brin driving in his Tesla, by Zach Graves.)"
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