Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he has clashed with fellow billionaire Bill Gates over the fact that he is shorting Tesla shares. Musk can be seen at the opening party of Tesla Giga Texas’ “Cyber ​​Rodeo” on April 7, 2022.

Susan Cardeira | AFP | Getty Images

Elon Musk has accused Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates of locking up Tesla.

On Twitter on Friday, the CEO of Tesla admitted that he asked Gates if he was selling shares in the electric car maker. When investors cut stocks, they are betting that the price of the asset will fall.

“I heard from a few people at TED that Gates still has half a billion against Tesla, so I asked him, so it’s no secret,” Musk tweeted.

He answered a Twitter user’s question about whether there was a real snapshot of the alleged textual conversation between the two billionaires.

The Tesla chief’s response was, “Yes, but I didn’t give it to the NYT. They probably got it through friends of friends. ”

The account that requested text messages, @wholemarsblog, actively promotes Tesla and Elon Musk, and is one of the few pens Elon Musk most often interacts with on Twitter.

The man who runs @wholemarsblog, Omar Kazi, is co-defendant with Ilona Mask in a defamation lawsuit filed by Aaron Greenspan, founder of the public documents database Plainsite, who also cut Tesla shares and was Ilona’s vocal critic. Musk.

In an exchange of texts that CNBC was unable to verify independently, Musk asked Gates: “Do you still have a short position for half a billion dollars against Tesla?”

To which Gates replied, “Sorry I didn’t close it. I would like to discuss the possibilities of charity. “

Musk replied, “Sorry, I can’t take your philanthropy seriously on climate change if you have a big short stance against Tesla, the company that is doing the most to address climate change.”

The New York Times has not yet reported on Tesla Gates’ deals or text messages referenced on Twitter @wholemarsblog.

A spokesman for Bill Gates was not immediately available for comment when he was contacted by CNBC.

Last year, Gates told New York Times co-author Kara Swisher: “It’s important to say that what Elon has done with Tesla is one of the greatest contributions to climate change that anyone has ever made. And you know, underestimating Ilona is not a good idea. “

But he further added that Tesla was doing “light things, such as cars”. Gates stressed the need for greater impact on climate change by tackling other industries.

“In principle, we do not do enough on hard material: steel, cement, meat,” he said then. “And, unfortunately, what people think about – electricity, cars – is a third of the problem. That’s why we have to work on two thirds. “

“If all you pay attention to is these short-term figures, not green bonuses at all, then you miss the longest execution time, and that’s the hardest part.”

This is not the first time there have been public disagreements between the two men.

When Gates revealed in 2020 that he had bought himself an all-electric Porsche Taycan, a Twitter user asked, “I wonder why Bill Gates decided to go with Taycan instead of Tesla.”

Musk responded on Twitter: “My conversations with Gates were unfavorable, tbh [to be honest]».

Earlier, Musk also suggested the possibility that Gates was shorting shares of his company. Asked about those comments and whether he was a short Tesla, Gates told CNBC last year: “I’m not talking about his investment, but I think he should be very proud of what he did.” .

In an interview with Bloomberg also in February 2021, Gates said he would like it to be “more on the long side” of Tesla when asked about Mask’s claims.

– Laura Kolodny of CNBC, Todd Hazelton and Ryan Brown contributed to this report.

Previous articleRepublicans are demanding that the Twitter board keep records of Mask’s application
Next articlePony.ai says it is the first self-governing firm to receive a taxi license in China