SpaceX employees and private investors will be disappointed to hear that an IPO isn’t in the cards any time soon for its Starlink satellite internet business. That’s according to a leaked recording of Elon Musk addressing the company’s employees and obtained by CNBC.
In the address to employees, which took place last Thursday, Musk said that spinning off its Starlink satellite internet business from SpaceX and taking it public likely wouldn’t happen until 2025 at the earliest. “I’m not sure exactly when that [IPO] is, but maybe it will be like—I don’t know, just guessing—three or four years from now,” Musk told employees, adding that Starlink’s business needs to have”good predictability” before it could be spun off into its own company, and a publicly-traded one at that.
Musk’s comments now put a Starlink public offering at 2025 or 2026 at the earliest. The news will be disappointing to those employees who would be granted stock options in Starlink—and it’s also not the first time Musk has delayed the timeline of a Starlink spinoff and IPO. Back in 2019, Musk sent SpaceX employees an email saying “it will probably make sense to take Starlink public in about three years or so”—so around this year, 2022. That’s obviously not happening now.
Starlink is an important revenue driver for the privately held SpaceX. It offers a constellation of satellites that allow for internet access around the globe. SpaceX recently revealed Starlink now has over 400,000 subscribers, which CNBC estimates brings in over $500 million a year in revenue.
But for those hoping those revenues would contribute to IPOing sooner rather than later, well, that’s just pie-in-the-sky thinking for now.