Chamath Palihapitiya, Social Capital Founder and CEO and former Facebook executive, revealed that he sold his Tesla position last year. Palihapitiya has been bullish on Tesla for some time but exited his bet after last year’s stratospheric rise in Tesla shares. The high prices allowed him to generate cash to fund his other ideas.
“I don’t have an infinite pool of capital. So when I have these ideas, the money has to come from somewhere,” Palihapitiya said on September 29 at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha conference.
Tesla shares had been trading just under $90 at the start of 2020, before rising to $900.40 earlier this year. Tesla last closed at $781.31, an increase of 743 percent. Tesla’s stock rose through investor sentiments, robust demand for alternatives to fossil fuel cars, and a preference for growth-oriented companies.
Palihapitiya had said in January that he believed that Tesla could easily double or triple again in stock value due to its “distributed energy business” and the upcoming changes in energy infrastructure towards cleaner energy. While Palihapitiya said he was somewhat wrong about Tesla’s growth opportunities, as he “completely underestimated” the EV market, he was still bullish on Tesla’s growth.
“When you see it now, the market has flipped. ... Tesla will be very busy just being a best-in-class EV company,” he said.
But while Palihapitiya has expressed his confidence in Tesla, many others are not so sure about the Elon Musk-led company. Michael Burry, the legendary investor who predicted the real estate bubble collapse of 2008 and made $800 million off of it, has put options on 1.1 million shares of Tesla worth $731 million at the end of June. The put options from Burry’s Scion Asset Management are based on a bearish bet where if the price of Tesla shares falls before the expiration of the put contract, they stand to earn considerable profits.