Tesla agrees $2.6bn deal to buy SolarCity

Tesla car Image copyright AFP

US electric carmaker Tesla has said it has reached a deal to buy solar panel company SolarCity for $2.6bn (£2bn).

The deal, announced in June, will expand Tesla's clean energy business.

California-based Tesla is known as a pioneer in electric cars but since last year has also been selling batteries that can power homes and businesses.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk owns 22% of SolarCity and sits on the firm's board. SolarCity's chief executive Lyndon Rive and Mr Musk are cousins.

Under the deal, SolarCity has until 14 September to solicit offers from other potential buyers.

The two firms announced the deal on Tesla's website, saying: "Solar and storage are at their best when they're combined."

Mr Musk has previously described the deal as a "no brainer".

He said it would transform Tesla into the "world's only vertically integrated energy company offering end-to-end clean energy products", from solar panels and home storage batteries to electric vehicles.

As part of that strategy, Tesla is opening an enormous new Gigafactory, which will be able to make batteries for much more than cars.

However, financier Jim Chanos, who is betting against the shares of both firms, has described the deal as a "shameful example of corporate governance at its worst".

More on this story