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Musk denies IPO plan for Starlink

November 20, 2023

Elon Musk, speaking ahead of the November 19th Starship launch, denied a Bloomberg report that his rocket company SpaceX was discussing an initial public offering (IPO) for its satellite internet business, Starlink – perhaps as soon as 2024.

Musk, posting on his social media platform X, specifically described the Bloomberg report as “false”. The report stated that SpaceX had been moving Starlink’s assets to a wholly owned subsidiary that would ultimately be spun off.

In truth Musk might have added – but didn’t say – “for now”. Musk has previously spoken of plans to list Starlink when revenue growth and cash flow became smooth and predictable. Earlier in November SpaceX announced that Starlink had achieved cash-flow breakeven. In other words, an IPO will certainly happen, but perhaps not just yet.

SpaceX has an estimated value of around $150 billion. Its many technical and commercial breakthroughs have left rivals, including arch-rival Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket business scrambling to keep pace as reusable rockets significantly reduce launch costs.

While TV audiences will have the seen the launch on November 19th of the giant Starship, it is worth remembering that just a few hours ahead of the Texas launch another less spectacular launch took place from the Vandenberg Space Force Base. A SpaceX Falcon 9 made another totally routine flight carrying 22 extra Starlink satellites into space.

It was the 15th time the rocket’s booster had flown, and 8.5 minutes after launch the booster landed on its floating barge no doubt to be refurbished and used again. It takes the overall number of Starlinks launched to 5,445 of which 5,041 are working and 4,500 operational according to data from astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell.

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