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Elon Musk hits back after ‘Big Short’ investor said he ‘just wants to sell Tesla’

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Elon Musk hits back after ‘Big Short’ investor said he ‘just wants to sell Tesla’
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Elon Musk has responded to the accusation by Michael Burry that he “just wants to sell Tesla” to capitalise on its enormous value while the share price is still high.

The founder of the electric vehicle company tweeted that the investor made famous by The Big Short is a “broken clock”.

There was some confusion on Twitter over Mr Musk’s tweet as the saying is that a broken clock is right twice a day — some users wanted to know if Mr Burry was indeed correct this time — though the intended meaning is believed to be that Mr Burry’s predictions are incorrect the vast majority of the time.

Early on Monday, he tweeted: “Let’s face it. @elonmusk borrowed against 88.3 million shares, sold all his mansions, moved to Texas, and is asking @BernieSanders whether he should sell more stock. He doesn’t need cash. He just wants to sell $TSLA.”

The investor made the claim a few days after delivering a dire warning for the economy tweeting that stock market speculation has reached levels not seen since before the 1929 crash, and assets are more over-valued than before the dot-com bubble burst.

Mr Burry has since appeared to delete all of his tweets, but his account remains active. An archive account has preserved images of his posts. He has deleted his Twitter account on previous occasions when tweets have gotten him into trouble with investors.

Last week Mr Burry claimed that Mr Musk had taken out personal loans against the stock and suggested that the founder of Tesla was selling shares to service those debts.

Mr Musk committed to selling 10 per cent of his stock in the company based on the results of a Twitter poll. He cashed in approximately $7bn in shares last week making a hefty profit given the more than ten-fold increase in the valuation of the company since the beginning of 2020.

As Mr Burry’s tweet also noted, the Tesla founder has also moved from California to Texas, dramatically reducing his tax bill, and he has also offloaded most of his estimated $100m real estate portfolio. He also told Senator Bernie Sanders in a tweet that he would sell more stock at his request.

Mr Musk was also the target of a pointed tweet from Mr Burry last week when he implied that Tesla had succeeded because of massive government and electricity subsidies funded by taxpayers.

The Big Short investor has repeatedly said the Tesla stock price is symbolic of a huge overvalued asset bubble and he is especially wary of a coming correction similar to when the dot-com and housing bubbles burst. Mr Burry also believes that policymakers are standing idle rather than taking any action.

Last week he wrote: “More speculation than the 1920s. More overvaluation than the 1990s. More geopolitical and economic strife than the 1970s.”

He added: “Players grabbing the barrel of Kyle Rittenhouse’s rifle while @SECGov and @federalreserve nod approvingly.”

He attached an opinion piece from the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal headlined: “Rivian, the government unicorn,” and subheaded: “The EV truck maker is worth $120.5bn. It has sold 156 vehicles.”

Electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian, backed by Ford and Amazon, went public this week, fast becoming the second-highest valued automaker in the US after Tesla.

Valued at more than $100m by the end of its first day of trading, it has nevertheless only sold less than 200 trucks and makes almost no revenue. The company plans to manufacturer more than 1m vehicles a year by the end of the decade.

Mr Burry is most widely known for calling the housing price bubble that developed in the 2000s. He “shorted” the housing market – selling market positions on the assumption that housing prices will drop – and when the market collapsed as he had predicted in 2007 and 2008, he made a fortune.

The subsequent fallout of the housing bubble bursting saw 3.8m Americans lose their homes and triggered the global financial crisis that rippled around the world leading to the great recession.

Mr Burry is known as something of a doomsayer and while his Twitter account is @michaeljburry, his username is “Cassandra” – the Trojan priestess of Greek mythology who made accurate prophecies but was never believed.

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