Bill Gates Admits $500 Million Bet Against Tesla, Confirms Elon Musk

Elon Musk confirmed in a tweet on Friday evening that tech magnate Bill Gates admitted to shorting Tesla when the latter recently approached him about “philanthropy possibilities” — reports Business Insider.

Responding to screenshots of a conversation between Musk and the Microsoft founder shared by @WholeMarsBlog, the Tesla CEO confirmed they were real.

Musk confronted Gates about a short position against Tesla worth half a billion that he had heard about “from multiple people at TED,” where the celebrity billionaire spoke last week. Gates admitted to the $500 million USD short position and said, “Sorry to say I haven’t closed it out.”

A short position on a stock usually refers to an investor borrowing shares of a company and selling them, only to buy them back later at a lower price, return them, and pocket the difference. When you short a stock, you essentially bet that its value will fall.

Gates proceeded to express his interest in exploring “philanthropy possibilities” with Musk, which the Tesla CEO promptly turned down.

“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.”

Musk said he didn’t leak the screenshots, and that they must have been outed by “friends of friends.”

Shortly after he confirmed the screenshots were real, Musk also tweeted out a meme comparing an unflattering image of Gates to the pregnant man emoji, writing: “in case u need to lose a boner fast.”

The two tech moguls have often butted heads in the past, with Musk surpassing Gates in wealth back in November 2020. Gates said in September 2020 that comparing Musk to Steve Jobs was a “gross oversimplification.” But there also appears to be a good bit of respect there, with the Microsoft founder admitting last year that “we need more Elon Musks.”

“I think what Elon has done with Tesla is fantastic. It’s, you know, probably the biggest single contribution to showing us that electric cars are part of how we solve climate change.”