Elon Musk’s chaotic management of the social media platform Twitter is hurting his brand, and investors should stay away from stock in his electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, former hedge fund manager Danny Moses of The Big Short fame said this week.
Moses’s remarks late Thursday came in an interview with CNBC on the same day that Twitter appeared to have at least temporarily suspended a number of prominent journalists who had reported on Musk and the operations of the platform which he acquired in October for $44bn.
Musk sought to justify the actions late in the day by saying that Twitter had forbidden sharing details on his real-time location, and he accused journalists who he alleged had shared his whereabouts of publishing “assassination coordinates”. But the accounts’ suspension prompted outrage on both sides of the Atlantic, with critics asserting that Musk was curbing press freedoms despite presenting himself as an advocate of free speech.
Moses on Thursday said he had bet against the performance of Tesla’s stock, saying its price is rooted in Musk’s personal brand, which has been “hit a little bit”.
“It’s still a $500bn company, and I don’t think the fundamentals justify that valuation,” the founder of the investment fund Moses Ventures said. “He’s running three … very large companies at this point, so there’s a lot obviously that he has to deal with.
“We’re getting frustrated here, because his attention span is being compromised.”
Moses warned Tesla could be in for a rough 2023, when some predict a national recession is possible, among other economic pressure. Tesla’s stock is down 60% from what it was in January after anemic earnings and populist disapproval of Musk, who fired thousands of Twitter employees after taking over the platform and then told those who kept their jobs to be ready to labor for “long hours at high intensity”.
Musk – who additionally runs SpaceX – has also worried investors by recently selling off $3.6bn worth of Tesla shares. That divestment came as he lost the world’s richest man title to Louis Vuitton and Dom Perignon magnate Bernard Arnault of France, bringing sales of Musk’s stock in his electric carmaker to more than $20bn.
It has all prompted Tesla’s third largest shareholder, Indonesian billionaire KoGuan Leo, to call on Musk to step down as the carmaker’s chief executive officer, according to Observer.com.
The contempt many in the public hold for Musk became clear last week, when a crowd in San Francisco booed him lustily after he was introduced on stage at a show hosted by comedian Dave Chappelle.
Moses is perhaps best known as the former head trader at FrontPoint Partners, which was run by Steve Eisman, who was portrayed by the actor Steve Carell in the movie The Big Short. Both the movie and the Michael Lewis book of the same name chronicled how some investors like Moses foresaw the crash of the mid-2000s housing bubble and capitalized on it.
In addition to founding his investment fund, Moses has been an adviser of the cannabis investment group Merida Capital Partners in New York.