SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk reportedly discussed plans to make Starlink a public company June 2. Image credit: SpaceNews/Caleb Henry

TAMPA, Fla. — SpaceX is unlikely to offer shares in its broadband company Starlink to the public until 2025 or later, according to a report citing comments its CEO Elon Musk made to employees last week.

Musk said he did not know exactly when Starlink could list shares on a public stock exchange, reported CNBC citing an audio recording of a June 2 SpaceX company meeting, but guessed it would be in three or four years.

He reportedly reaffirmed a need for more financial stability in Starlink’s business before launching an initial public offering (IPO) of shares.

SpaceX, which did not respond to a request for comment, has for years faced questions from potential investors about the possibility of carving Starlink out of SpaceX for an IPO.

CNBC said it had also obtained an email Musk sent to employees in May 2019 about how it could make sense to turn Starlink into a public company in three years or so.

However, when asked in March 2020 about reports that SpaceX was considering spinning out Starlink, Musk said he was “thinking about that zero,” and was instead focusing on avoiding the bankruptcies other satellite constellation companies have suffered.

In February 2021, Musk said in a tweet that Starlink will launch an IPO once “we can predict cash flow reasonably well.”

In a tweet Feb. 9, 2021, he said: “SpaceX needs to pass through a deep chasm of negative cash flow over the next year or so to make Starlink financially viable.”

SpaceX has been raising billions of dollars from private investors to help expand Starlink’s coverage worldwide to gain a critical mass of subscribers to sustain the business.

The company has launched more than 2,600 satellites to date for the constellation and — according to a video presentation Musk tweeted June 5 — Starlink’s services are now available in 32 countries and have nearly 500,000 users.

Earlier this year, SpaceX said soaring inflation had forced the company to raise prices for Starlink.

For Starlink’s standard service plan in the United States, the price of its terminal increased from $499 to $549, while the cost of service increased from $99 to $110 a month.

Musk also warned SpaceX employees June 2 how shares in public companies can lose value if they fail to meet expectations, CNBC reported, and said stock prices are a distraction.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...