- Saudi Arabia’s PIF is already a major shareholder of Lucid.
- A takeover by PIF could make sense for both parties.
- But investors should not buy solely on this rumor.
Lucid Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:LCID) has seen its shares explode upward on Friday due to rumors about a potential bid by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (“PIF”). An attempted takeover by Saudi Arabia could indeed make sense due to several reasons, but as no official bid has been made yet, buying solely on this rumor is risky. If the rumor turns out to be false, LCID shares could drop quite a lot, back to the levels seen before the rumors emerged.
On Friday, Lucid Group saw its share price soar by as much as 75% on the back of a report about a potential bid from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Throughout the day, LCID stock pulled back to some degree, however, shares are still currently trading up 40% from the previous day’s closing price.
No official statement has been made about a takeover bid, neither by Lucid Group nor by Saudi Arabia’s PIF.
Could A Takeover Make Sense?
We don’t know a deal is certain until it is announced — if it ever gets announced. But we can try to evaluate whether such a takeover by Saudi Arabia’s PIF could make sense.
Saudi Arabia’s PIF is the country’s sovereign wealth fund worth hundreds of billions of dollars. The fund thus surely has the required means to buy Lucid, which traded with a market capitalization of $16 billion prior to the rumors.
PIF has a stated mandate of driving the transformation of the Saudi Arabian economy. Here’s a statement from the fund’s official website:
Saudi Arabia is currently generating a large portion of its gross domestic product, and an even bigger portion of the government’s income, from oil production and sales. While that industry is doing very well in the current environment, the country’s leadership has a goal of diversifying the economy over time. This makes sense, as oil revenues will likely not be this high forever — I’m not a bear on oil at all and believe that the outlook for the foreseeable future remains strong. But when one looks at the coming decades, getting more exposure to other industries makes sense for the country.
Saudi Arabia’s goals, and thus also PIF’s goals, include growing exposure to areas such as renewable energy, tourism, chemicals (not only producing oil but also using it to make higher-value products), and so on. Among other things, PIF’s projects include the gigantic Neom city project with a cost of several hundred billion dollars.
PIF is also investing in more down-to-earth assets, however, which includes Lucid Group — PIF already owns a stake in the company. In fact, with a 62% stake, PIF is the majority holder of Lucid Group already, prior to any rumored takeover bids. PIF has also regularly added to its stake in LCID, which includes a $900+ million investment in November when LCID was already trading publicly for quite some time. This tells us two things:
First, PIF is obviously seeing future value in Lucid, otherwise, they wouldn’t have bought into the company in the first place. Lucid, as a pure EV company, makes sense as a partner/target for Saudi Arabia’s PIF — it helps diversify the economy away from oil/petrochemicals and gives Saudi Arabia exposure to a major growth market. Lucid’s premium/luxury approach also seems suitable for Saudi Arabia, as there is a sizeable premium/luxury auto market in the country already, and highly-priced vehicles are also sold regularly in other Gulf nations such as the UAE, Qatar, and so on. Lucid has already stated that its first factory outside of the United States would be built in Saudi Arabia, which aligns the company and the country even more — Saudi Arabia is not only attractive as an end market for the electric vehicle (“EV”) maker, but also as a manufacturing hub, thanks to low taxes, low energy prices, and so on.
Second, Saudi Arabia’s PIF seemingly does not see Lucid as an overvalued stock. When the fund added to its stake last November, Lucid was trading for around $13 per share, which is well above the share price LCID traded at before the rumors emerged ($9 per share). When PIF was willing to add to Lucid in the low teens, it could indeed make sense that the fund would be willing to buy the whole company at a similar price.
So while a takeover bid is far from guaranteed, it would make sense from PIF’s side, I believe — the fund already owns a major stake, seemingly sees LCID as attractive as shown by recent purchases, the company and the country are already aligned and will work on manufacturing facilities in Saudi Arabia, and LCID fits PIF’s goals of moving into new high-growth markets.
Would a sale to Saudi Arabia’s PIF also make sense for Lucid? The company could see some benefits as well. First, if taken private by the fund, pressure when it comes to delivering near-term results would wane. Public markets are oftentimes criticized for their near-term focus, but when LCID is owned by PIF, it can focus on developing the company for the long run — quarterly results wouldn’t matter as much. If LCID would be taken private, regulatory and administrative burdens that are connected to being a publicly traded company would cease to exist. That would not only result in lower costs for LCID, all else equal, but it would also result in manpower being available for other tasks. When fully owned by PIF, raising additional money could also be easier for Lucid should it need additional funding — it could just access funds from its sole owner, and there would not be any squabbles over valuations and other items.
All in all, there are thus good arguments for a takeover by PIF, as it could make sense for both parties — LCID would likely have easier access to growth capital and would not feel the same pressure of delivering near-term results, while buying and growing an EV champion fits well with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
Is LCID A Buy Based On This Rumor?
The fact that a takeover of LCID by PIF could make sense does not mean that it will actually happen, however. It also doesn’t mean that investors should buy Lucid now, following a sizeable jump in its share price, in the hopes of seeing near-term returns if PIF does indeed make a bid for Lucid. While that could work out in case there is a takeover bid at a high-enough price, buying Lucid for this purpose seems like speculation to me.
If there is no takeover bid, Lucid Group would most likely see its share price pull back — when it was trading at around $9 before these rumors emerged, there’s no good reason for LCID to trade well above that level in case the rumor turns out to be wrong, which could very well be the case.
Lucid has strong tech, its vehicles receive great reviews (and awards), and in my personal opinion, they look great. But at the same time, Lucid is still far from a large player, as it is only selling a couple of thousand vehicles per quarter for now. That is why Lucid is still far from being profitable, which is why it is highly unlikely that its market capitalization will grow much in the near term unless there is a takeover bid.
Lucid trades at 7x 2023’s expected revenue, while peers Tesla (TSLA) and BYD Company Limited (OTCPK:BYDDY) traded at 5x and 2x revenue, respectively. Lucid thus does not look like a bargain compared to other EVs, although it arguably has a better relative growth potential over the coming years thanks to being smaller still.
Lucid Group, Inc. is an EV company that makes attractive vehicles with strong tech. But it is also deeply unprofitable for now and could require further capital raises. That makes it a higher-potential, higher-risk choice among automobile companies, I believe.
A bid by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund for Lucid Group, Inc. could make sense, but as no official statement has been made, I believe buying solely on that rumor is risky. If the rumor turns out to be false, Lucid Group, Inc. could have significant downside potential.
Editor’s Note: This article discusses one or more securities that do not trade on a major U.S. exchange. Please be aware of the risks associated with these stocks.
Disclosure: I/we have a beneficial long position in the shares of BYDDY either through stock ownership, options, or other derivatives. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Is This an Income Stream Which Induces Fear?
The primary goal of the Cash Flow Kingdom Income Portfolio is to produce an overall yield in the 7% – 10% range. We accomplish this by combining several different income streams to form an attractive, steady portfolio payout. The portfolio’s price can fluctuate, but the income stream remains consistent. Start your free two-week trial today!