In a Friday tweet, Tesla CEO Musk admitted that he had asked Bill Gates if he had shorted the electric car maker's stock, CNBC 23 reported. When investors short a stock, they are betting that the asset's price will fall, the report noted.
Musk tweeted, "I've heard from multiple TED sources that Gates still holds a $500 million short position in Tesla, which is why I asked him, so it's not a top secret."
The report describes Musk as revealing the above topic in response to a question from a Twitter user about whether a screenshot of a conversation between the two billionaires was authentic. To that question, Musk responded, "Yes, but I didn't leak it to the New York Times. They must have gotten the information through some friends who were in the know."
The screenshot reportedly reads as follows.
Musk asked Gates, "Do you still hold a $500 million short position in Tesla?"
Gates replied, "Unfortunately, I haven't liquidated my position. I'd like to discuss (with you) the possibility of developing a philanthropic business."
Musk retorted, "Sorry, I can't take your philanthropy on climate change seriously when you still have a large short Tesla position, after all, Tesla is doing the most to address climate change."
However, CNBC noted it could not independently confirm the content of the screenshot text message, and a CNBC reporter could not immediately reach a spokesperson for Bill Gates for comment.
On the other hand, CNBC mentioned in its report that this is not the first time the two aforementioned people have been publicly at odds with each other. When Gates revealed in 2020 that he bought himself an all-electric Porsche Taycan, a Twitter user asked, "I wonder why Bill Gates decided to buy a Taycan instead of a Tesla." Musk responded in a tweet, "Honestly, my conversations with Gates have been less than interesting."
Musk had also previously speculated that Gates might sell his company's stock short, according to the report. When asked about the comments and whether he would sell Tesla short, Gates had told CNBC last year, "I don't talk about my investments, but I think he should be proud of what he's done." Also in a February 2021 interview with Bloomberg, Gates said he wished he had "taken a longer-term view" of Tesla when asked about Musk's claims.