In a leaked text message exchange between Bill Gates (the 4th richest man in the world) and Elon Musk (the richest man in the world), we learn that Bill Gates still holds a massive short position against Tesla.
This has been rumoured for a while and had been thought to be closed out some time ago, but we now learn that even today, in April 2022, Gates is still shorting Tesla.
Post Microsoft, Gates focused on philanthropy with efforts through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation worked on admirable causes like eradicating Malaria.
Bill Gates also regularly promotes renewable energy and the risk of climate change, many of which you can read on the Blog of Bill Gates, GatesNotes.
For someone with such an interest in these areas, it seems amazing that he would take a short position against a company like Tesla, given their whole mission is to transition the world to sustainable energy.
In the message exchange, Gates and Musk are discussing SpaceX where it appears Gates at least recognises efforts there are impressive. Musk goes on to ask about the short position.
Do you still have a half billion dollar short position against tesla?Elon Musk
Sorry to say I haven’t closed it out.Bill Gates
I would like to discuss philanthropy possibilities.
This is Gates admitting that he is still betting against Tesla. This makes no sense when it comes to the mission, where it seems they should be closely aligned.
It also doesn’t seem to be a good financial decision given Tesla’s performance over the past couple of years and the forward momentum represented in the Q1 2022 results.
What we do know is that Gates is close to Warren Buffett who famously invested in Tesla-competitor BYD.
In Feb 2020, Marques Brownlee interviewed Bill Gates where he revealed he had purchased a Porsche Taycan.
Regardless of these data points, Gates’ motivation seems unclear, it is ballsy to then ask Musk for a meeting, which was politely declined.
Sorry, but I cannot take your philanthropy on climate change seriously when you have a massive short position against Tesla, the company doing the most to solve climate change.Elon Musk
Musk was asked if the screenshots of the conversation were real, to which he confirmed it was indeed and had been leaked by a friend of a friend.
There is a fair bit of cropping happening in the screenshots, which does mean we miss out on some context, but ultimately it’s now up to Bill Gates to explain why he’s betting against a fellow American company seemingly doing much work to solve climate change.