Betting Against Tesla: Short-Sellers Make Their Case

Betting Against Tesla: Short-Sellers Make Their Case

WashingtonRoyale

Elon Musk says short-sellers are conspiring to bring his company down. Some seasoned investors say it’s just a matter of fundamentals.

Tesla’s China headquarters in Beijing. Investors betting against Tesla say they base their view on cold financial calculations, including its debt and the rate at which it is consuming cash.CreditCreditRoman Pilipey/EPA, via Shutterstock

For the past year, Elon Musk has waged a bitter war of words with short-sellers, the investors who are betting billions of dollars that Tesla will fail.

On Twitter and in interviews, he has called them haters and jerks who know little about electric cars. He has accused them of spreading false information and amplifying negative news about Tesla in hopes of dragging down its stock price. Their goal, in Mr. Musk’s view, is nothing less than Tesla’s destruction.

George Noble doesn’t fit that description. Manager of his own hedge fund, Noble Capital Advisors, he rarely comments on Tesla in public or on Twitter, and he comes with an impressive pedigree. He has been following and investing in car companies for nearly 40 years, having started his career an auto analyst and then a rising fund manager at Fidelity in the 1980s.

“I’m not one of these individuals with superficial knowledge who’s tweeting garbage on Twitter,” said Mr. Noble, 61. “I’ve followed this industry a long, long time. I’m not a bomb-throwing hack.”

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