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TSLA critic and ‘Shark Tank’ judge Kevin O’Leary reverses course, buys Tesla stock

Legendary Canadian businessman and longtime Shark Tank Judge Kevin O’Leary, who previously remarked that he dislikes Tesla stock (NASDAQ:TSLA), has changed his tune on the electric car maker’s shares. In an appearance on CNBC, O’Leary stated that he personally bought some Tesla shares recently, in light of the company’s capability to attract the best talent in the field. 

During his segment, the veteran Shark Tank judge related his observations after attending electric vehicle races. During these events, O’Leary stated that the engineers behind these incredibly fast, high-performance EVs would flock to Tesla staff in attendance for potential jobs in the company. Regardless of where these teams originated from, the engineers reportedly showed a notable interest in Tesla, and an equally noteworthy lack of interest in other automakers. 

“Colleges and universities around the world with an engineering department generally puts forward an electric Formula 1 car and engineering teams in their graduating years race these cars all over the world. I’ve been hanging out at the pits with these engineers, and I’ve learned something extraordinary. When you go to one of these races… when the race is over, the winning team — they come from anywhere on Earth — who do they want to talk to? 

“They want to talk to the Tesla hiring team there; the HR people hanging around at the pits. Every one of these engineers, the smoking hot kids that sit with their cars, the men and women that sleep with them for 24 hours a day; it’s an unusual culture I’ve never seen before. They all want to work at Tesla. Why? Because the teams are six to eight people. If they go to a legacy car company, they get drowned out in the back somewhere. These smart, young, men and women make a big difference as interns. I can’t believe the access to talent they have. That’s why I bought the stock,” O’Leary said. 

While a CNBC host promptly commented that the Shark Tank judge’s reason for finally supporting TSLA stock was “random,” it should be noted that O’Leary’s about-face with the electric car maker’s shares is most likely a calculated decision. O’Leary, after all, does not give his support to a stock lightly. Just last year, for example, the investor admitted that he loves his Tesla Model X (which he purchased at the behest of his wife) and he considers Elon Musk a genius, but he hates TSLA stock. With this in mind, his change of tone with regards to the company’s shares bodes well for Tesla. 

Tesla shares are somewhat on familiar, volatile territory following the release of its second-quarter report and earnings call. While the company ended Q2 2019 with a record $5 billion in cash, Tesla also showed a net loss of $408 million, translating to a loss of $2.31 per share, notably lower than Wall Street’s estimates. Commenting on the steep drop, longtime TSLA bull Ban Kallo of Baird argued that the market appears to be overreacting to Tesla’s Q2 results. 

“Just back to the cash flow they generated during the quarter, there’s a couple of hundred million dollars, so this idea that they don’t make money is completely wrong, and the headline needs to change. There’s $5 billion in the balance sheet. They’re not going out of business. You have other OEMs that have really hard problems and restructuring problems. And it’s not Tesla; it’s XYZ German manufacturers,” he said. 

As of writing, Tesla stock is trading at +0.43% at $229.01 per share.

Disclosure: I have no ownership in shares of TSLA and have no plans to initiate any positions within 72 hours.

TSLA critic and ‘Shark Tank’ judge Kevin O’Leary reverses course, buys Tesla stock
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