It is well known that Elon Musk and Bill Gates do not have a good relationship, mainly because they differ in their points of view on various issues of global relevance. Like cryptocurrencies and the coronavirus, for example. However, never before have we seen such convincing evidence of the pique that exists between the two.
A private conversation was recently leaked where Elon Musk confronts Bill Gates about having a short stake in Tesla. In fact, the CEO of the electric carmaker himself confirmed the authenticity of the chat via Twitter —where else—.
“Do you still have a short position of half a billion [o 500 millones] of dollars against Tesla?” Elon Musk questions him. To the surely unexpected question, Bill Gates replies: “I’m sorry to say I haven’t closed it. I’d like to discuss the possibilities of philanthropy.”Clearly, the founder of Microsoft wanted to avoid the subject and instead discuss how Musk could be involved in some charitable cause, but he didn’t get it.
Elon Musk was quick to reply forcefully: “Sorry, I can’t take your climate change philanthropy seriously when you have a massive short position against Tesla, the company doing the most to solve climate change.”
As Elon Musk commented on Twitter, he did not leak the conversationalthough he believes that New York Times he may have obtained it through “friends of friends”.
What is a short position? Unlike a “regular” investment—or long position—where you invest in a company’s stock hoping it will rise in value and then sell it for a profit, a short position is just the opposite: you expect stocks to go down.
The process involves borrowing the stock and immediately selling it at the current price—yes, you’re selling an asset you don’t own. Once their value decreases, they are bought and returned to the lender, earning the difference between the sale and the purchase.
Although it is completely legal, morally it has never been well seen because you put your trust in the decline of a company. This situation was what caused the GameStop scandal at the beginning of the previous year. A group of investors organized on Reddit to buy shares of the video game store, raise its value and prevent funds with short positions from getting away with it.
Bill Gates confident in the fall of Tesla
The fact that Bill Gates is short Tesla obviously means that confident that the automaker will collapse at some point. It is logical that Elon Musk would react that way.
Prior to the conversation, Elon Musk was already suspicious of Bill Gates’ short position. “I heard from several people at TED that Gates still had half a billion dollars short against Tesla, so that’s why I asked him, so it’s not exactly a secret.”
for now Bill Gates has not commented on the matter. In the past, he has recognized that what Elon Musk was doing with Tesla was one of the biggest contributions to combating climate change. However, he also pointed out that it was the easiest thing to do. “We’re not doing enough on the complex things: steel, cement, meat. And unfortunately the things that people think about (electricity, passenger cars) are only a third of the problem. So we have to work in the other two thirds,” he said.