PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — The electric car company Tesla announced Tuesday evening it planned to split its stocks five-for-one, the first stock split in the company’s history.

In a statement, the company said its board approved the split so “to make stock ownership more accessible to employees and investors.”

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All those who own Tesla stock as of Aug. 21 will receive their additional shares after close of trading on Aug. 28. Trading on the new stocks will begin Aug. 31.

Tesla’s stock rose 7% upon news of the split. 

Tesla’s shares already have tripled so far this year to give the automaker a market value of $256 billion — nearly three times more than the combined value of long-established rivals Ford Motor, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler.

The rapid run-up in Tesla’s stock has been propelled by a widening belief that the company has fixed its past manufacturing problems. It is also seen as moving to widen the appeal of its vehicles beyond the luxury niche with a series of new models.

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Tesla also has been able to reverse a long history of losses under its eccentric CEO and co-founder, Elon Musk, to post four consecutive quarters of profits.

The company’s financial turnaround has qualified Musk for two lucrative awards valued at nearly $3 billion since May.

The news comes after Tesla accused a hedge fund of supporting an employee’s defamation case against the car company. Tesla alleged on Monday that Cable Car Capital, who is shorting Tesla’s stock, is funding a defamation suit against Tesla filed by its former employee Martin Tripp. 

Tesla sued Tripp for reportedly stealing company secrets and sharing them online. Tripp responded with a defamation suit against Tesla. Under oath, Tripp denied taking any financial support from Cable Car Capital. 

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