Elon Musk seems to be taking a cue from Michael Dell in his desire to take Tesla Inc. private. But if Musk thinks removing his money-losing company from public markets will solve all of his problems, he hasn\u2019t learned Dell\u2019s lesson. The similarities are clear: Like Dell, Musk is the founder and chief executive officer of a struggling publicly traded company. He has had to contend with a high degree of public scrutiny, analysts who are critical of his strategy, and expectant investors willing to bail out after a bad quarter. In 2013, Michael Dell also retreated from those outside forces by taking his company private in a leveraged buyout, saying that he wanted greater freedom to make the decisions needed for a turnaround amid a shrinking personal-computer market. Now, five years later, the PC mogul has found that being private has its own limitations, and he\u2019s currently pushing to once again list the overhauled Dell Technologies Inc. publicly. Musk shocked investors Tuesday with a 61-character tweet that said he was considering taking Tesla private. He subsequently blasted out that his company \u201cwill be way smoother & less disruptive as a private company,\u201d a status that would end \u201cnegative propaganda\u201d from short-sellers, who are betting the stock will fall. Those naysayers have reason to bet against him - the carmaker has lost money on an operating basis every year since going public and has burned through billions of dollars amid the struggle to iron out production issues with its Model 3 sedan. Tesla already has more than $10 billion in debt. Dell\u2019s buyout in 2013 \u201cwas potentially similar, in that it was led by its founder and CEO, Michael Dell, who had substantial equity in the company,\u201d Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., wrote in a note Wednesday. But Dell had enough free cash flow to service almost $18 billion in additional debt, unlike Tesla, which also has bigger capital expenditures, he added. On Twitter, Musk referred to Dell as an example of a successful buyout. It\u2019s true that going private enabled Dell to overhaul its product strategies, expand into new markets and gain market share. Dell also amassed a great deal of debt going private and then took on more in a drive to expand, buying EMC Corp.\u2019s assets in 2016 for more than $60 billion to become a powerhouse in information technology. That deal might not have happened had the company faced investors skeptical of such a large merger with a struggling hardware company. Yet over time, Dell came to the realization that servicing all of its debt, making strategic acquisitions and boosting shareholder returns was more challenging for a company that couldn\u2019t easily tap the public markets. Dell\u2019s creep back to the stock market started slowly. First, it pursued a public offering for its cybersecurity unit SecureWorks Corp. in 2016. Next, it created a tracking stock in that same year to mimic its stake in software maker VMware Inc., to raise more money to help finance the EMC deal. Then, it pursued an IPO for Pivotal Software Inc. earlier this year, which allowed Pivotal to raise money to boost its growth and reduced strain from Dell\u2019s own balance sheet. Now, Dell Technologies is going all in, trying to convince investors to support its $21.7 billion deal to buy out the tracking stock, DVMT, and do a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Dell declined to comment. In the end, financial realities - and aspirations - have drawn Dell back to public markets again and again. For Tesla, with billions in existing debt and a CEO eager to build new factories, develop new models and enter the trucking industry, the question remains how it will have peak financial flexibility without access to the stock market. Tesla already has a junk-grade credit rating, so bond investors are unlikely to bail Musk out - to pursue the buyout or thereafter. Musk owns an almost 20 percent stake in Tesla, meaning he\u2019d still need roughly $70 billion in financing to take Tesla private. In his initial tweet on Tuesday, Musk asserted that funding had been secured, without giving any further details. Tesla is \u201ca long way from Dell,\u201d Dwight Scott, the president of Blackstone Group LP\u2019s credit arm, said Wednesday on Bloomberg Television. \u201cIt\u2019s going to probably be some sort of strategic or sovereign wealth-type investor. It\u2019s not a bunch of people like me on the debt side providing capital to pay off the equity. It\u2019s very hard to lend much more money to a company that, not only is it negative cash flow, but there are still operational issues that the company is working through before it can turn positive.\u201d Putting aside the unanswered question of whether Musk\u2019s \u201csecured funding\u201d would come from the Saudi wealth fund, which is a Tesla investor, it\u2019s easy to see the appeal for Musk. He\u2019s a leader who\u2019s rebelled against the traditional constraints of being a public-company CEO - infamously ripping analysts asking critical questions on an earnings call and using Twitter in a manner much closer to that of U.S. President Donald Trump than his fellow C-suite business leaders. There would be no more quarterly reports, no more public investors or short-sellers, no stock price to worry about. Michael Dell extolled the virtues of being private as recently as April, even as he probably knew that time may have been coming to an end. As Dell shows Musk, sometimes you don\u2019t want to be a public-company CEO - but for various reasons, you have to be one.