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Big Oil Backs Tesla Short Sellers, Says Wealth Manager

Tesla assembly line

Big Oil companies are behind many short sellers seeking to sink the shares of Tesla, a wealth manager has said, adding that Big Oil stood to lose billions if electric cars became a mainstream thing.

The Daily Mail quoted Ross Gerber, head of Gerber Kawasaki, as saying “When we looked into some of the short-sellers' backgrounds, we found that many of them had large positions in oil companies. This is big business, these guys aren't messing around, and they're definitely trying to take down Tesla.”

Tesla is the most shorted company in the United States and in the history of the stock market, according to CEO Elon Musk, but it is also the fourth-worst performing shorted company, data from S3 Partners revealed earlier this month. Since the start of 2016, Tesla short sellers have lost US$4.7 billion on their bets. After the release of the company’s second-quarter results, which were followed by a spike in its stock price, short sellers lost US$1.7 billion.

The Tesla story is increasingly becoming fit for a TV drama. Earlier this week, after it surfaced that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund had bought a considerable stake in the company despite Musk’s refusal to sell to the Saudi royal family when approached directly, the CEO tweeted that he planned to take the company private when the share price hits US$420.

Related: Shockwave In Shipping Could Send Brent Soaring

In his tweet, Musk said he had already secured the funding for the move, adding that current shareholders could either sell at US$420 per share or stay with the company. In response to a commenter on the thread, Musk said he hoped Tesla’s existing shareholders stayed with the company. Further elaborating, he said that the company could set up a special purpose fund to enable all shareholders to remain with the company. The mechanism, Musk said, has already been employed for SpaceX.

Taking Tesla private will probably anger short sellers, but it may also lead to sighs of relief after such unreliable share performance. As for the backing from Big Oil, the Daily Mail approached Oil and Gas UK for a comment, and what it got was this: “The claims don't marry with facts, given that many oil and gas companies are active investors in electric vehicles, produce the materials required to make them, and provide the energy needed to run them.”

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Shelly LeBoeuf on August 12 2018 said:
    Musk is the reason Tesla is losing share price. He has a big mouth about his big ideas that he can’t deliver.
  • Thomas on August 10 2018 said:
    I don't have any information on this article, but I do believe we desperately need more competition in the vehicle fuel market controlled by the Oil Industry.

    Ethanol has been trying to have more access to the fuel market for years, and is continually blocked by the EPA. How long are we going to have to wait for a waiver to sell E-15 year-round, just like E-10 has? E-15 is a cleaner fuel than E-10, has more octane and sells for a lower price. E-15 also has a lower vapor pressure than E-10. So, if Congress allows E-10 to have a 1 psi RVP waiver for year-round sales, why can’t E-15 have the same? E-15 is actually a superior fuel and offers more value in many ways.

    So, I wonder, if the Oil Industry is working behind the scenes, to delay or stop low emission electric vehicle progress, are they also doing all they can to block low emission ethanol from the market place?

    I wonder, Does President Trump Care?

    Or do we all have to choke on gasoline fuels forever?

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