‘Don’t sell a share’: Billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya says Tesla’s stock could triple from current levels, making Elon Musk the first trillionaire

FILE PHOTO: Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder and CEO of Social Capital, presents during the 2018 Sohn Investment Conference in New York City, U.S., April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
Chamath Palihapitiya.

  • The billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya told CNBC on Thursday that Tesla’s stock could be worth three times its current valuation, which would make CEO Elon Musk the first trillionaire.
  • On Thursday, Tesla shares shot up 6.9%, and Musk surpassed Jeff Bezos as the richest person on the planet.
  • Palihapitiya said that Tesla was a “distributed energy business” and that he’d believed for a while that the world’s first trillionaire would be a person fighting climate change.
  • “Delivering clean energy, allowing the world to be sustainable, is an incredibly important thing that will be rewarded by markets and individuals,” Palihapitiya said.
  • “Don’t sell a share” of Tesla, he told investors.
  • Watch Tesla trade live here.

The billionaire investor Chamath Palihapitiya said Tesla’s stock could be worth three times its current valuation, which would make CEO Elon Musk the first trillionaire.

“Don’t sell a share” of Tesla, Palihapitiya told investors in a CNBC interview on Thursday. He advised investors to get behind Musk and other entrepreneurs who wouldn’t bend to short-term profits and who were striving to make the world a better place.

“I don’t understand why people are so focused on selling things that work,” the Social Capital CEO added. “When things are working, you’re paid to stay with people that know what they’re doing. And this is a guy who has consistently been one of the most important entrepreneurs in the world. And so why bet against him?”

Musk surpassed Jeff Bezos as the richest person on the planet on Thursday. Tesla shares shot up as much as 6.9%, to $808.69, boosting the net worth of its CEO to about $186 billion.

Musk’s wealth derives from his stakes of roughly 20% in Tesla and 48% in SpaceX, as well as 57 million exercisable Tesla stock options, Bloomberg said.

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Palihapitiya said that Tesla was a “distributed energy business” and that Musk was figuring out a way to harness energy, store it, and use it to help people to be productive and fight climate change.

“I tweeted this a while ago that I thought the world’s first trillionaire would be a person fighting climate change,” Palihapitiya said. “It very well could be Elon. But if it’s not him, it’ll be somebody like him. It will be because of this: Delivering clean energy, allowing the world to be sustainable, is an incredibly important thing that will be rewarded by markets and individuals.”

Palihapitiya added that that the power-utility business was ripe for disruption and that there are “trillions of dollars of bonds, of capex, of value sitting inside the energy-generation infrastructure.” When those are harnessed, Tesla will double and triple again, he said.

Palihapitiya’s CNBC appearance aired shortly after longtime Tesla bear RBC upgraded the electric-vehicle maker to “sector perform” from “underperform” and increased its price target to $700 from $339.

“There is no graceful way to put this other than to say we got TSLA’s stock completely wrong,” RBC said in a note on Thursday.

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