Greenlight Capital founder David Einhorn placed an interesting quote about Tesla a
t the end of this second quarter investor letter.
“We believe that Tesla’s most valuable asset may be the trust it has built with its providers of capital,” – Adam Jonas (not one of the Jonas Brothers)
Adam Jonas is Morgan Stanley’s most colourful auto analyst. He’s been a big Tesla bull for years now, though he’s wavered a bit recently.
Last month, Jonas downgraded Tesla stock to equal weight on the news that it would acquire SolarCity, a flailing solar energy company cofounded by Musk and helmed by his cousin, in an all stock deal. Musk said that this purchase was another step in his master plan to make Tesla a vertically integrated auto company.
Jim Chanos, of Kynikos Associates who is short Tesla stock, called the deal “shameful.” This publication said it was a “kick in the teeth” to Tesla shareholders, who would have to take on SolarCity’s problems, as well as its $600 million in quarterly costs.
Because of that cash burn, analysts have posited that Tesla will have to return to the capital markets for cash.
And perhaps that’s what Einhorn is getting to here. Perhaps he thinks that Tesla will have to call upon its generous friends in the market to survive, and that’s a sign of weakness.
Or perhaps he means those friends can carry the company through. It’s still very difficult to make money in this low yield world, and Tesla stock or debt may continue to be a place where people want to park their money.
Musk has, after all, presented the world with a new plan for the next phase of his company. It’s very ambitious, and envisions a future where Tesla is constantly innovating the machines that make its machine. It sees a company of self driving cars, Tesla trucks, and Tesla public transportation.
That takes a lot of cash, though.
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