[NEW YORK] Tesla Motors Inc and SolarCity Corp could announce they have agreed to merge as early as Monday, people familiar with the matter said, setting the stage for a campaign to convince the two companies' shareholders to back the deal.
Combining the clean energy car maker with the solar panel installer is a key pillar of billionaire Elon Musk, who earlier in July unveiled his master plan "part deux" that calls for the combined company to offer consumers a single source of hardware to power a low-carbon lifestyle.
While Mr Musk is chief executive of Tesla, chairman of SolarCity and the biggest shareholder in both companies, a merger agreement was not certain because SolarCity had formed a special committee to review Tesla's offer independent of the influence of Mr Musk and other executives close to him.
The merger agreement is likely to include a so-called go-shop provision that will allow SolarCity to solicit offers from other potential buyers for a short period of time following its signing, the people said on Sunday.
The exact terms of the deal could not be learned. Tesla had previously said it offered 0.122 to 0.131 of its shares for each SolarCity share.
The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. Tesla and SolarCity, which have market capitalisations of US$34.6 billion and US$2.6 billion respectively, declined to comment.
Mr Musk has argued that combining Tesla with SolarCity will allow the combined company to reach consumers more effectively, installing solar panels on their roofs, sending power to Tesla storage batteries in their homes, and Tesla cars in their garages.
Batteries from Tesla's US$5 billion Gigafactory outside Sparks, Nevada, will be central to the combined enterprises.
Tesla shareholders have gradually warmed up to the deal with SolarCity following initial apprehension after Tesla announced its offer on June 21. After dropping to below US$190 per share following the offer, Tesla shares have recovered and ended trading on Friday at US$234.79. SolarCity shares closed at US$26.70 Friday.
Reuters first reported last week that Tesla and SolarCity were close to a merger agreement.
Besides Mr Musk, several Tesla and SolarCity executives, including Mr Musk's cousins, SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive and SolarCity board member Peter Rive, have recused themselves from voting their shares when the deal comes to a vote.