- Tesla shares sank as much as 8% Friday following an emotional interview by CEO Elon Musk.
- The billionaire told the New York Times that the past year has been "the most difficult and painful" of his career as he has struggled to make Tesla profitable and jabbed with short-sellers.
- Shares have now given up all of their gains following the announcement that Musk would attempt to take Tesla private
- Tesla is more than 30% below his $420 target buyout price.
- Follow Tesla's stock price in real-time here.
The emotional, hour-long phone interview focused on Musk's cryptic tweet that stated he was "considering taking Tesla private" at $420 per share and the regulatory fallout that has followed. It also featured a candid Musk discussing what he says has been the worst year of his life.
"This past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career," the billionaire said, choking up at points during the interview, according to the Times. "It was excruciating."
Musk also spoke about the short-sellers — or those investors betting against Tesla's stock price — that he has very publicly bemoaned. Tesla has remained the most shorted US stock for months, and Musk said in 2017 that "these guys want us to die so bad they can taste it."
In the interview, Musk doubled down on this criticism, saying "they’re not dumb guys, but they’re not supersmart. They’re O.K. They’re smartish."
Tesla shares are now trading at a 32% discount to the $420 target Musk laid out in his cryptic tweet last Tuesday. In the interview, Musk was quick to clarify that it wasn't a weed joke. $419 was a nice, round 20% premium to Tesla's stock at the time, but "it seemed like better karma at $420 than at $419," he said.
"But I was not on weed, to be clear," said Musk. "Weed is not helpful for productivity. There’s a reason for the word 'stoned.' You just sit there like a stone on weed.”
Tesla is down 1.5% this year, and has given up all of its gains from the announcement that it would seek to go private. If the shares fall below $300, they will have given up all of the gains seen in the wake of Tesla's second-quarter earnings report on August 1.
More from Musk's New York Times interview:
- Elon Musk's $420 target for Tesla stock probably wasn't a reference to weed
- Elon Musk describes his 'excruciating' year and says he's had to take Ambien to get to sleep
- 'The most difficult and painful year of my career': Tesla CEO Elon Musk opens up about personal and professional struggles in revealing interview
- Elon Musk is gearing up for 'months of extreme torture from the short-sellers'
- Mark Cuban: Elon Musk needs to know the short-sellers 'are his friends'
- Elon Musk once tried to poach Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg to lighten his 'excruciating' workload at Tesla
- Telsa's board is reportedly conducting a serious search for a COO — but Elon Musk says he doesn't know about it
- Elon Musk: Anyone who can do a better job as Tesla's CEO 'can have the reins right now'
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