He made a killing in 2008, was the toast of the Oscars in 2015, and today he's planning yet another big short, this time targeting Tesla
If you haven't seen, or don't recall the movie, a put option (or a short) allows its owners to sell an asset at a fixed price. Say you buy a share of Tesla for $580, and then say the price of Tesla goes to $230. If you want to curb your losses, you could buy a put option to sell that share of Tesla for $310 instead of the current market value of $230. Starting in 2005, Burry used credit default swaps to bet against the housing market this way, at a time when home prices had virtually no ceiling. In the end, Burry pulled in $700 million for his clients and managed to put $100 million into his own pockets.
Burry has built his fortunes and his career by spotting bubbles that are about to pop, and for him, Tesla is bursting at the seams. "Only today, Tesla increased its capitalization by 60,000 million dollars," he said back in December in a now-deleted tweet. "Which is equivalent to one GM
Clearly, the tweet intended to mock Tesla's lofty valuation, which at the time stood at roughly $700 billion. In another deleted tweet, Burry also pointed out that an oversized portion of Tesla's profits come from the sale of regulatory credits. The notion is that demand for these regulatory credits will slide as more automakers begin making their own electric vehicles.
While Tesla may be the poster child for the worst excesses of retail trading, it seems few investors are willing to bet on the stock's downfall as much as Burry. Short interest in Tesla is at an all-time low, which indicates that most investors are comfortable with Tesla's sky-high valuation.
And while 2021 may be a turbulent year for Tesla, there are still a few bright spots. Tesla has managed to weather the global chip shortage fairly well, surprising given how technologically dense its vehicles are.
Yet in 2021, Tesla has shed $300 billion of its market cap, its stock has dipped 36% in the past four months, falling 14% just since the close of last quarter. Reading these statistics, you can hear the proverbial air hissing out of Tesla's bubble.
But for Burry, there's still a lot of air that can come out. Tesla's sales might only be a fraction of those at legacy automakers. Yet, the company still enjoys a $500 billion market cap and continues to trade at 133 times forward earnings. In contrast, Toyota
It seems that something's gotta give, and that something could very well be Tesla's share price.