Tesla sinks after Elon Musk opens up about 'the most difficult and painful year' of his career


Shares of Tesla sank more more than 7% Friday, nearing their lowest price this month, after Elon Musk opened up to the New York Times about his bid to take the electric-car maker private.

The emotional, hour-long phone interview focused on Musk’s cryptic tweet that stated he was “considering taking Tesla private” at $US420 per share and the regulatory fallout that has followed. It also featured a candid Musk discussing what he says has been the worst year of his life.

“This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career,” the billionaire said, choking up at points during the interview, according to the Times. “It was excruciating.”

Musk also spoke about the short-sellers – or those investors betting against Tesla’s stock price – that he has very publicly bemoaned. Tesla has remained the most shorted US stock for months, and Musk said in 2017 that “these guys want us to die so bad they can taste it.”

In the interview, Musk doubled down on this criticism, saying “they’re not dumb guys, but they’re not supersmart. They’re O.K. They’re smartish.”

Tesla shares are now trading at a 32% discount to the $US420 target Musk laid out in his cryptic tweet last Tuesday. In the interview, Musk was quick to clarify that it wasn’t a weed joke. $US419 was a nice, round 20% premium to Tesla’s stock at the time, but “it seemed like better karma at $US420 than at $US419,” he said.

“But I was not on weed, to be clear,” said Musk. “Weed is not helpful for productivity. There’s a reason for the word ‘stoned.’ You just sit there like a stone on weed.”

Tesla is down 1.5% this year, and has given up all of its gains from the announcement that it would seek to go private. If the shares fall below $US300, they will have given up all of the gains seen in the wake of Tesla’s second-quarter earnings report on August 1.

More from Musk’s New York Times interview:

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