Tesla major investor Ron Baron told CNBC on Wednesday that he raised $ 6 billion from his investment in the electric car maker and plans to remain a shareholder for at least another 10 years.
As of Wednesday, investment firm Baron Capital, of the same name as Baron Capital, owns nearly 6 million Tesla shares at a cost of $ 42.88 each. Baron Capital manages assets worth $ 58.9 billion.
“We made our customers $ 54 billion in profits, and that $ 54 billion in profit includes about $ 6 billion from Tesla out of a $ 380 million investment, you know, seven or eight years ago,” Baron told Squawk Box.
Back in March, Baron predicted that Tesla’s stock price would hit $ 2,000 a share over the next 10 years and hit $ 1,500 by 2024. Despite forecasts, Baron sold 1.8 million Tesla shares to his firm’s clients in March in what he called “painful” but necessary to “reduce risk.”
Baron, whose firm sold 41,000 more Tesla shares in October, remains optimistic, calling Musk a hardworking, inspiring and “brilliant guy.”
“When I first met Elon 10 years ago, I was skeptical about his success, and it was only after we started producing the Model S that we started buying stock,” Baron said.
Longtime Tesla investor is also encouraged by Elon Musk’s SpaceX venture, which hit $ 100 billion earlier this month. The Baron suggested that most people would not be interested in space without the mega-billionaire, and that the US government should value Musk’s contributions more.
“There would be no electric cars if it were not for Elon Musk, in fact, you probably would not have got into space, like now, if not for Elon Musk,” said Baron. “The two most popular companies for engineers when they finish work are … Tesla and SpaceX.”
The Baron made these remarks in conjunction with criticism of the billionaire tax promulgated Wednesday by the Democrats.
According to Baron, the main risk for Tesla’s future is Musk’s health. “I think the biggest risk for us is his health,” Baron said. “He sleeps five hours a day and works 19 hours … so short term, it’s a risk.”
The Baron said that despite his lack of sleep, Musk is currently healthy. “Hopefully he stays healthy for a long time, he has big plans.”
Tesla shares are currently in excess of $ 1 trillion on the stock market and are up nearly 3% on Wednesday afternoon.