Elon Musk Maintains Silence on Starlink IPO, Citing Legal Restrictions

**Elon Musk and the Potential Starlink IPO**


Elon Musk, the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, recently regained his title as the world’s richest person. However, it is believed that an IPO of SpaceX’s satellite-broadband unit, Starlink, could make him even wealthier. While Musk has refrained from discussing specific plans for a Starlink IPO, venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya has predicted that it will happen this year and become the biggest deal of 2023. This article will explore the potential of a Starlink IPO and its implications for Elon Musk’s wealth and the future of SpaceX.

**The Possibility of a Starlink IPO**

Chamath Palihapitiya, a well-known venture capitalist, has predicted that a Starlink IPO will occur this year. In his estimation, Starlink’s valuation will be at least half of SpaceX’s current private worth, which could make it a major financial event. However, when asked about the possibility of a Starlink IPO, Musk responded that it would not be legal for him to speculate on the matter. Nonetheless, the idea of a Starlink IPO remains a topic of interest and speculation among investors and industry experts.

**Musk’s Control over SpaceX**

While speculation about a Starlink IPO continues, it is worth noting that SpaceX is a private company. In December, it was reported that a trust associated with Musk owns 42% of SpaceX, which gives him control over the company’s decisions. Even with a decrease in his ownership percentage since November 2016, Musk still holds a significant amount of authority within SpaceX. This control over the company’s direction could play a crucial role in any decision regarding a potential IPO.

**Starlink’s Importance to SpaceX’s Valuation**

Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite-broadband network, has been identified as the primary driver of SpaceX’s valuation. With more than 1.5 million customers as of May, Starlink is positioned to deliver high-speed internet anywhere on the planet through a network of satellites in low Earth orbit. Despite the significant investment required to develop and deploy this network, investors believe it has the potential to revolutionize the internet connectivity landscape. This belief in Starlink’s potential has contributed to SpaceX’s rising valuation and increased interest in a potential IPO.

**The Business Case for Starlink**

Elon Musk has consistently defended the business case for Starlink, refuting doubts about its viability. Musk emphasizes that the business case is objective rather than subjective. If Starlink can provide a compelling internet connection that is competitive in terms of quality and price with terrestrial options, or in areas where such options are unavailable, it stands to have a strong business foundation. Musk believes that the key factors determining the viability of Starlink are the quality of the internet connection it provides and its cost-effectiveness compared to terrestrial alternatives.

**The Potential Timing of a Starlink IPO**

SpaceX informed its employees last summer that a Starlink IPO was not expected until 2025 or later. However, the speculation surrounding a potential IPO this year brings into question the timeline previously communicated. While Musk has remained tight-lipped about any IPO plans, the possibility of an earlier IPO cannot be ruled out entirely.

**The Future of SpaceX and Starlink**

In an interview, Musk shared that SpaceX has made over 1,000 changes to its Starship, which is the vehicle intended for future Mars missions. Despite setbacks, such as explosions and failed launches, Musk expressed optimism about the future success of Starship. He believes that the probability of the next flight succeeding or reaching orbit is much higher than previous attempts. This optimism could also bode well for the potential success of Starlink, as it is a significant component of SpaceX’s long-term plans.


While Elon Musk has not revealed specific plans for a Starlink IPO, industry speculation suggests that it could happen soon and be a major financial event. The importance of Starlink to SpaceX’s valuation and Musk’s control over the company make the prospect of an IPO intriguing. The success of Starlink and the anticipated progress of SpaceX’s Starship project lend further credibility to the potential value of a publicly-traded Starlink. As the future unfolds, the technology and innovation of SpaceX and Starlink continue to be closely watched by investors and industry enthusiasts alike.


– Fortune: “Elon Musk Reclaims Title as World’s Richest Person” (June 17, 2023)
– Wall Street Journal: “SpaceX Seeks $150 Billion Valuation” (June 22, 2023)
– CNBC: “SpaceX Raises Funds at $137 Billion Valuation” (January 2, 2023)
– CNBC: “SpaceX Starlink IPO Likely Several Years Away” (June 7, 2022)
– Bloomberg: “Elon Musk Says SpaceX Starship Has Improved Odds of Success” (June 24, 2023)

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