Saturday 21 September 2019

Musk vows to 'burn' Tesla shorts but admits he was foolish on analyst call


Elon Musk
Elon Musk

Dana Hull

Elon Musk pledged to "burn" investors shorting Tesla and criticised both analysts and himself for the bizarre earnings call that dragged on shares of the electric-car maker.

Musk tweeted that analysts at Sanford C Bernstein & Co and RBC Capital Markets were representing "a short seller thesis, not investors" when posing questions he cut off during last Wednesday's call. The chief executive officer reiterated that an inquiry about capital expenditures by Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi was "boneheaded" and said RBC's Joseph Spak posed an "absurd" query about Model 3 reservations.

"Oh and uh short burn of the century comin' soon. Flamethrowers should arrive just in time," Musk wrote, referencing devices he sold earlier this year to raise money for his tunnel-digging company Boring.

The tweets are the latest episode to suggest that the billionaire CEO fixates on investors' bets against Tesla, a company that hasn't earned an annual profit in its 15-year history. A Rolling Stone cover story in November described a scene in which Musk shared information about short-sellers' Tesla positions with his sons. He trolled bears in April 2017, tweeting "Stormy weather in Shortville... " after Tesla surpassed Ford in market value.

Responding to a Twitter user who asked if he should have just blocked the analysts from the call, Musk wrote back: "True. And once they were on the call, I should have answered their questions live. It was foolish of me to ignore them."

Musk, 46, rejected Sacconaghi and Spak's questions during the call to discuss another quarter in which Tesla burned more than $1bn in cash.


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