April Fools’ Day has become a favorite among brands looking to prank the internet with fake products and stories. People have grown accustomed these tricks, but it’s hard to tell when Elon Musk is joking since most of his planned innovations tend to sound fictional, anyway.
“Important news in a few hours,” Musk tweeted on Sunday. Given his many projects, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has a lot of opportunities to get creative on April Fools’ Day. Will the Hyperloop be opening this week? Will Musk be launching a rocket to take out Tiangong-1, the Chinese space station headed for Earth? Will we finally find out the drinking age on Mars? The possibilities are endless.
Instead of announcing a new innovation, Musk tweeted that Tesla had gone bankrupt. “Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt,” he reported. “So bankrupt, you can’t believe it.”
The bankruptcy joke was likely a direct response to rumors that Elon Musk was running out of cash. On Tuesday, John Thompson of Vilas Capital Management predicted that Tesla was headed for total collapse and could be bankrupt within four months.
“There are many chapters of bankruptcy and, as critics so rightly pointed out, Tesla has them all,” Musk said. He continued to tweet jokes about his depleting funds, going to far as to share a photo of himself looking down and out with a cardboard sign.
It’s not out the ordinary for Musk to tweet outlandish ideas that wind up being true. In 2016, he nonchalantly announced the creation of the Boring Company on Twitter without much ceremony.
“Traffic is driving me nuts,” Musk said on Twitter. “Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.” An hour later, he tweeted, “It shall be called ‘The Boring Company.’ Boring, it’s what we do.” That sounds like a joke, but it wasn’t.
All pranks aside, Tesla has both $10 billion of long-term debt and $23 billion in total liabilities. The company spent more than $3.4 billion in free cash last year and could run out of money in 2018 if it maintains that pace. Musk doesn’t act worried, but time will tell if he’s still laughing by next April Fools’ Day.