Elon Musk tweets that he confronted Bill Gates about shorting Tesla

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he confronted billionaire Bill Gates about whether he shorted Tesla’s shares. Musk can be seen here at the Tesla Giga Texas which is producing the “Cyber ​​Rodeo” grand opening party on April 7, 2022.

Suzanne Cordeiro | AFP | Getty pictures

Elon Musk has accused Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates of shorting Tesla.

In a tweet on Friday, the Tesla boss admitted that he asked Gates if he sells short shares in the electric car manufacturer. When investors short a share, they bet that the price of the asset will fall.

“I heard from several people at TED that Gates still had half a billion cards against Tesla, and that̵[ads1]7;s why I asked him, so it’s not exactly top secret,” Musk said in the tweet.

He answered the question of a Twitter user whether a screenshot of an alleged text conversation between the two billionaires was genuine.

The Tesla boss’s response was, “Yes, but I did not leak it to NYT. They must have gotten it through friends of friends.”

In the text exchange, which could not be confirmed independently by CNBC, Musk asked Gates: “Do you still have a short position of half a billion dollars against Tesla?”

To which Gates replied: “Sorry to say I have not shut it out. I would like to discuss philanthropy opportunities.”

Musk shot back: “Sorry, I can not take your philanthropy on climate change seriously when you have a massive short position against Tesla, the company that does the most to solve climate change.”

A spokesman for Bill Gates was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNBC.

Gates told NYT opinion poll Kara Swisher last year: “It’s important to say that what Elon did with Tesla is one of the biggest contributions to climate change anyone has ever made. And you know, underestimating Elon is not a good idea.”

But he went on to add that what Tesla did was “simple things, like passenger cars.” Gates stressed the need to make a greater impact on climate change by tackling other industries.

“We’re basically not doing enough on the hard stuff: steel, cement, meat,” he said at the time. “And unfortunately, the things people think about – electricity, cars – are a third of the problem. So we have to work on two thirds.”

“If all you notice are the short-term calculations, not the green premiums across the board, then you are missing out on what is the longest lead time, which is the difficult thing.”

This is not the first time the two men have had a public disagreement.

When Gates revealed in 2020 that he was buying an all-electric Porsche Taycan, a Twitter user asked, “I wonder why Bill Gates decided to go with Taycan instead of a Tesla.”

Musk responded in a tweet: “My conversations with Gates have been overwhelming tbh [to be honest]. ”

Musk has also previously speculated about the possibility that Gates will shorten the company’s shares. Asked about these comments and whether he was low Tesla, Gates told CNBC last year: “I’m not talking about my investments, but I think he should be very proud of what he has done.”

In a Bloomberg interview also in February 2021, Gates said he wished he had “been more on the long side” of Tesla when asked about Musk’s claims.

– CNBC’s Todd Haselton and Ryan Browne contributed to this report

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