- TeslaCEO Elon Musk told the New York Times that he’s bracing for months of “extreme torture” from short sellers.
- The billionaire has often criticised those investors betting against Tesla’s stock price in the past.
- Tesla remains the most-shorted stock in the United States by a large margin.
- Follow Tesla’s stock price in real-time here.
Elon Musk hasn’t been quiet about his disdain for short sellers, or those investors betting against Tesla’s stock price.
In a New York Times interview published late Thursday, the billionaire chief executive doubled down on those criticisms. While the worst may be behind Tesla operationally, Musk said he worries that pressure from Tesla bears will continue as long as his company is public.
Now – in the wake of his Twitter announcement that he was considering taking Tesla private at $US420 per share – Musk is preparing for “at least a few months of extreme torture from the short-sellers, who are desperately pushing a narrative that will possibly restyle in Tesla’s destruction,” he told the paper.
Tesla has long been the most-shorted stock in the US, according to data from the financial analytics from S3 partners, and that persistence has agitated Musk for some time.
“These guys want us to die so bad they can taste it,” he tweeted in June 2017, referring to an an Investopedia article that cited a similar report from S3. “Just wish they would stop sticking pins in voodoo dolls of me. That hurts, OK?”
And it’s not just the short sellers who Musk has a disdain for. He also has a bone to pick with Wall Street analysts who are downbeat on Tesla.
On an earnings conference call in May, Musk interrupted questions from two sell-side analysts, calling them “boring” and “boneheaded.” He has since apologised to the analysts from Bernstein and RBC Capital Markets, but defended his choice to take questions from retail investors instead.
“The 2 questioners I ignored on the Q1 call are sell-side analysts who represent a short seller thesis, not investors,” Musk tweeted after the call. “The reason the Bernstein question about CapEx was boneheaded was that it had already been answered in the headline of the Q1 newsletter he received beforehand, along with details in the body of the letter.”
Still, Musk isn’t backing down.
“They’re not dumb guys, but they’re not supersmart,” Musk told the Times. “They’re O.K. They’re smartish.”
More from the New York Times interview:
- Elon Musk’s $US420 target for Tesla stock probably wasn’t a reference to weed
- Elon Musk describes his ‘excruciating’ year and says he’s had to take Ambien to get to sleep
- ‘The most difficult and painful year of my career’: Tesla CEO Elon Musk opens up about personal and professional struggles in revealing interview
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.