Cramer: Tesla’s new stock offering is smart because ‘the world’s changed’ since the coronavirus

Tesla’s decision to embark on a secondary stock offering is smart given the increasing global uncertainty around the coronavirus, CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Thursday.

“Anyone who begrudges, with the stock all the way up from where he reported, is nuts,” Cramer said on “Squawk Box.” “Why not take the money? The world got a lot less certain in the last 10 days.”

Shares of Tesla went on a wild ride last week — but year-to-date, the stock is up more than 80% and about 220% in the past six months. The stock opened 3% lower Thursday, but turned positive shortly after.

Tesla said before-the-bell that it plans a $ 2 billion common stock offering, a reversal from two weeks ago when CEO Elon Musk said the electric car maker didn’t intend to take advantage of its soaring stock to raise fresh capital.

“We’re spending money as quickly as we can spend it sensibly,” Musk said then, adding, “in light of that, it doesn’t make sense to raise money because we expect to generate cash despite this growth level.”

But since Musk made those comments, “the world’s changed,” Cramer said, acknowledging the coronavirus concerns in the market.

The coronavirus has continued to spread, with more than 60,000 total confirmed cases and nearly 1,400 deaths. The vast majority are in China.

The outbreak’s ripple effects have had significant economic impacts, disrupting supply chains and altering consumer spending.

Tesla temporarily closed its China stores and announced cars initially scheduled for delivery to customers there in early February would be late because of the coronavirus.

It also had to close its Shanghai factory for about a week; it got back up and running this week.

“You could argue what Elon’s doing is saying, ‘Look, the stock’s much higher now. I need the money. Maybe you don’t know how quickly China is going to come online. We have a lot of demand all over the place,'” Cramer said.

Later, on “Squawk on the Street,” Cramer suggested all companies with significant operations in China should be preparing for prolonged coronavirus-related impact.

“Anybody who has a lot of business in China would do best to try to figure out how much money they need if it doesn’t come back online until, say, the summer,” Cramer said.

“Musk has made a judgement that he’s going to be fine no matter what,” he added.

Cramer used to be relatively skeptical of Tesla, but his outlook turned more positive toward the company late last year, due largely to the wishes of his wife, Lisa, who wanted a Model X sport utility vehicle.

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