Tesla bear who argued that TSLA is worth $0 gives Elon Musk credit: ‘Job well done’

One of Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) most noted bears, Kynikos Associates founder Jim Chanos, has revealed that he had trimmed his TSLA short. In what could only be described as an unprecedented development on the short-seller’s part, Chanos also noted that if he were to meet Elon Musk, he would tell the Tesla CEO “job well done so far.”

Chanos has been short TSLA for five years, and during that time, he has been one of the company’s most vocal critics. In 2017, he made headlines when he announced that he believes Tesla is worth $0. Chanos has also hammered the point that Tesla and Elon Musk “have a broad interpretation of the truth,” in light of announcements that “turned out not to be true.”

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Chanos noted that for the first four years, his TSLA short was not such a bad bet. But in the past 12 months, with TSLA climbing over 700% and hitting a market cap of over half a trillion dollars, Chanos admitted that the experience had been painful. “It’s been painful, clearly,” he said, adding that he had trimmed his short position against the electric car maker. 

While Tesla’s rise has been impressive, the company is nowhere near done. TSLA is expected to be added to the S&P 500 later this month, and when it does, it would be bigger than all but five members of the esteemed index. The company is also rapidly building factories in Germany and in Texas, where vehicles like the Model Y and the Cybertruck will be built. 

Chanos argued that he still continues to take issue with Tesla’s business model and valuation, and he argued that the company’s five straight quarters of profitability are due to regulatory credits. Nevertheless, he admitted that if he ever does meet Elon Musk, he would congratulate him. While he has never met Musk or had a conversation with the CEO, if they were to meet, “I’d say, ‘job well done so far,’” Chanos said.