Elon Musk has brutally slapped down one of his arch-enemies: an investor who tries to earn money by betting against Tesla’s success.
The billionaire often complains about short-sellers who want his pioneering electric car firm to fail so they can make vast amount of dosh.
Short-selling involves borrowing stock in a company and then selling them in the hope the price will collapse, whereupon the stock can be brought back cheaply and handed back to its owner, leaving behind a tidy chunk of profit.
But this strategy has proved a failure recently because Tesla has posted good results and its share price has soared since June.
This prompted one investor to make very strong allegations about Telsa’s business practices – which we are not repeating in this article.
Musk described these claims as ‘false’ in a reply to a tweet from the financial website Zero Hedge, which published the letter from a famous short-seller we have decided not to name.
In a long letter, Musk promised to send the investor some ‘short shorts to help you through this difficult time’.
‘It is understandable that you wish to save face with your investors, given the losses you suffered from Tesla’s successful third quarter, especially since you’ve had several down years in performance and a sharp drop in assets under management from $15 billion to $5 billion,’ he wrote.
‘We also recognize your desire to feel somehow relevant with your Tesla short position at a time when your friends in the Tesla short community have been noticeably recoiling from the public discourse, as the world is increasingly recognizing Tesla’s contributions to science, safety, and a sustainable environment.
‘To the extent that you have any desire to learn about the amazing progress the people of Tesla are making, I would like to extend an open invitation to meet with me to discuss Tesla and tour our facilities. For their sake, I’m certain your investors would appreciate you getting smart on Tesla.’
Musk signed the letter ‘Treelon’, a reference to his decision to fund the planting of one million trees.
The move was welcomed by Elon’s army of Twitter followers, one of whom wrote: ‘Stuff like this is why we love you.’
Elon is famed for his love of Twitter drama. Earlier this year, he took a swipe at arch-rival Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.
The meme-loving Tesla boss swung into action after seeing a story about Bezos’ plan to send a ‘constellation’ of 3,000 internet equipped satellites into space as part of a scheme called Project Kuiper.
‘This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet,’ an Amazon spokesperson said.
But this plan appears to have displeased Musk, whose SpaceX firm is working on a similar project called Starlink which will send 4,000 satellites into space.
.@JeffBezos copy 🐈
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2019
In the tweet above, he tagged in Bezos and called him a ‘copycat’, using the emoji instead of a word.
Musk is not the only person who wants to beam internet to Earth from up in space.
Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook is planning a similar project and was due to launch its own internet satellites this year to broadcast 5G to remote parts of the world.
‘We believe satellite technology will be an important enabler of the next generation of broadband infrastructure, making it possible to bring broadband connectivity to rural regions where internet connectivity is lacking or non-existent,’ a Facebook spokesperson told Wired in a statement last year.
It’s not clear whether Musk and Bezos are friendly rivals or sworn enemies.
Both men are competing for domination of the heavens and are developing reusable rockets to carry cargo and even humans into space.
Last year, Bezos wrote a tweet just before SpaceX launched a rocket which said: ‘Best of luck @SpaceX with the Falcon Heavy launch tomorrow – hoping for a beautiful, nominal flight!’
To which Musk replied simply: ‘Thanks.’
He also used the ‘blowing a kiss emoji’.