By Krystal Hu and Eva Mathews
(Reuters) -Elon Musk’s rocket and satellite company SpaceX is in talks about an offering of mostly secondary shares that could value the company at up to $150 billion, representing a 20% increase in valuation, sources told Reuters.
The offering would be aimed at helping employees and shareholders cash out, two of the sources said. That view appears to contradict earlier information from a separate source that the offering would raise up to $1 billion for SpaceX via a new share issuance.
Talks with potential investors are centering around a price of $85 apiece for SpaceX shares, up from a split-adjusted $70 per share fetched earlier this year, sources said.
The robust investor appetite contrasts with valuation cuts for many late-stage venture capital-backed startups due to sharp rises in interest rates and market volatility.
SpaceX, one of the world's most valuable private companies, has regularly provided liquidity programs for employees and early investors so they can sell their shares in the secondary market without the company going public.
The valuation is still fluid and any share sale plan, which requires SpaceX’s approval, could still change, the sources cautioned. Bloomberg News first reported the proposed funding round on Tuesday. Hours later, Musk tweeted the report was false, without providing specifics. SpaceX did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Musk has said he plans to provide similar shares and liquidity programs for Twitter which he recently took private in a $44 billion deal. The strong investor interest comes on the back of a good year for SpaceX that included the first launch in more than three years for Falcon Heavy, the world's most-powerful active rocket.
It is also targeting early December to launch its giant Starship rocket system into orbit for the first time.
Additionally, Starlink, SpaceX's growing network of thousands of internet satellites, is promising to become a major revenue generator with commercialized applications such as the rollout of high-speed internet on commercial airlines last month.
SpaceX competes with Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos's space venture Blue Origin and billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.
(Reporting by Krystal Hu in New York and Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Edwina Gibbs)