Elon Musk says the offer is “3 or 4 years”.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk sits behind a Starship prototype rocket at the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

Steve Jurvetson on flickr

Elon Musk He told SpaceX employees last week that the company is likely not going to go public with its Starlink satellite internet business until 2025 or later, CNBC learned, once again extending the estimated timeline for an initial public offering.

“I don’t know exactly when [IPO] it is, but maybe it will be like – I don’t know, just guessing – three or four years from now, ”Musk said at a full-fledged meeting of the private company employees Thursday, according to an audio recording obtained by CNBC.

Musk stressed, as he has done previously, that Starlink’s business must be “in a smooth sailing situation” with “good predictability”. At that point, “I think turning it into a public company makes a lot of sense,” Musk said.

The latest timeline for a Starlink IPO represents another delay and comes despite repeated questions from a variety of investors over the years to own a piece of SpaceX, a stock that remains privately traded.

Musk had already targeted an offer earlier this year, according to an email to SpaceX employees obtained by CNBC. The email, sent by Musk in May 2019, said that “it will probably make sense to go public with Starlink in about three years”.

The SpaceX CEO then dismissed that estimate, saying in a tweet last year that it would take “at least a few years for Starlink’s revenue to be reasonably predictable,” adding that “going public sooner would be very painful.”

SpaceX did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Musk’s remarks.

SpaceX’s Starlink network is designed to deliver high-speed Internet anywhere in the world through thousands of satellites in low earth orbit. The company disclosed this late last month Starlink now has over 400,000 subscribers worldwide. SpaceX has launched approximately 2,500 satellites to date to support the system.

Although SpaceX offers a variety of Starlink products and services, the base price of $ 110 per month and the company’s most recent subscriber numbers suggest annual service revenue of more than $ 500 million per year.

A Starlink satellite terminal, also known as a dish, installed in front of a camper.

SpaceX

Musk warned employees during his comments on Thursday that “they shouldn’t think things go public as, like, a safe path to wealth.”

“Public markets are fickle” and “they really whip you with the gun if you don’t meet expectations,” Musk said.

Musk has had an often controversial relationship with the regulations of publicly traded companies. In 2018, he agreed to pay millions in transaction fees with the Securities and Exchange Commission in response to fraud allegations relating to a failed private plan of his he electric vehicle company. Tesla. He is currently also fighting with Twitter on a proposal to make the social media company private.

“Being public is definitely an invitation to grief,” he told SpaceX employees Thursday. “And the stock price is just distracting.”

SpaceX continues to raise billions of capital to develop both Starlink and its mammoth Starship rockets. The company’s valuation reached $ 127 billion during the latest funding round.