Elon interview with Ron Baron Nov 2022 #Newsletter

Elon’s longer term vision for Twitter is to use it as the base for his next generation identity & payments platform (apart from being a useful digital town square for ‘most’ people). Elon says that he knows how to make a better Paypal – a business that could be the world’s biggest/most valuable financial services company. He claims to have developed the blueprint during his days at ‘x.com’ (the pre-cursor to paypal); relatedly Twitter is owned by ‘X Holdings Inc’. Possibly related, the largest PE firm – Apollo Global is also focussed on identity & payments. This also links with something Dr. Harshvardhan (Trust Capital) alludes too – the value for transactions is not in the moving of money/entries in a ledger, but in fraud reduction through identity verification/KYC. The idea being that $MA, $V are not so much in the business of facilitating the movement of money as in the prevention of fraud. A bitcoin or Doge or similar network with an identity layer on top could be very interesting.

My read is that Elon has switched from saying that [[$TSLA]] is over-valued to TSLA is undervalued, especially if as he believes autonomy adds 5x the value to cars without changing manufacturing cost. TSLA has 15% operating margin at the moment (gross margin: 27%); if cars can be sold for 5x current price, gross margin would expand to 85% (and given the size of the market, this would be larger than any other business in the world). In other interviews Elon has repeatedly said that he thinks TSLA will be worth more than Apple and Saudi Aramco combined (the two largest currently listed entities).

Edited: Nov 9: Elon sold an additional $4B of $TSLA (https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/elon-musk-sells-195-mln-tesla-shares-worth-395-bln-sec-filing-2022-11-09/). So my read was wrong; it looks like Elon thinks there is more pain to come. At some point his wealth could flip with the more of Elon’s net-worth coming from SpaceX & Starlink than from TSLA! (600B marketcap on Nov 9; Elon 14% => $84B).

Back of the envelope $TSLA model: At this point most TSLA analysts believe that TSLA will be selling between 10-20M cars by the end of 2030 (1.6M/year at the moment, with a 50% CAGR). At a 25% operating margin, and 20x terminal EV/EBIT $TSLA’s NPV is ~$990B. At at 40% operating margin, this increases to: $1.7T. Current market-cap: $655B (ATH: $1.2T)