TLDR: In a series of leaked texts, Elon Musk has apparently refused to engage in charity talks with fellow billionaire Bill Gates due to the latter’s half-billion dollar short position in Tesla. Musk confirmed the authenticity of these texts, but said that he did not leak them himself.
On Friday, Elon Musk confirmed that he had clashed with Bill Gates about selling Tesla shares. Leaked screenshots of the correspondence between the two billionaires were posted on Twitter, where Musk was asked if they were genuine.
In these screenshots, the Tesla CEO openly asked Gates if he was still holding a $500 million short position against Tesla. Gates admitted he didn’t shut it down, adding that he would like to discuss philanthropic opportunities.
Bill said he didn’t close it, so Elon told him to disappear. I don’t know if this is true lol pic.twitter.com/iuHkDG3bAd
— Whole Mars Catalog (@WholeMarsBlog) April 22, 2022
Musk quickly turned down the request, saying he couldn’t take Gates’ views on climate change seriously as long as he held a short stance against Tesla. According to him, the company is doing everything possible to solve the problem of climate change.
A short sale usually means that an investor or trader sells the borrowed stock with the intention of buying it back later at a lower price. By doing this, they are essentially betting that the value of the asset will fall.
Musk claimed that the screenshots were real, although he himself denied leaking them. It’s not known when the swap took place, although it’s worth noting that Musk first mentioned Bill Gates selling Tesla stock over a year ago on Joe Rogan’s podcast.
Yes, but I didn’t leak it to NYT. They must have gotten it through friends of friends.
I heard from several people at TED that Gates is still half a billion short of Tesla, which is why I asked him, so it’s not really a secret.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 23, 2022
Elon Musk later tweeted a meme meant to mock Gates.
In the past, the two billionaires have openly feuded over topics like Covid-19, Mars colonization, and cryptocurrencies. Musk also tweeted in 2020, his conversations with Gates were disappointing, so it’s clear they aren’t on the best of terms.