(Corrects headline and text of story to clarify reference to size of bearish bet against Tesla)
BERKELEY, Calif., May 17 (Reuters) - The family office run by “Big Short” investor Michael Burry has disclosed a large bearish bet via options on Tesla Inc.
Scion Asset Management said in a regulatory filing on Monday that it had put options on 800,100 shares in Tesla as of the end of the first quarter. Based on Tesla’s closing price of $667.93 at the end of the first quarter the value of that many shares would be about $534 million.
Details on the strike price of the puts, their value and whether they are part of a broader trade were not available. Scion Asset Management did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.
Put options give investors the right to sell shares at a certain price in the future
One of the investors profiled in the book “The Big Short’ and the film of the same name for betting more than a billion dollars against the U.S. housing bubble, Burry has been skeptical of Tesla’s sky-high valuations.
In February, he tweeted “my last Big Short got bigger and Bigger and BIGGER,” referring to Tesla’s surge in market capitalization. “Enjoy it while it lasts,” he said.
Powered by strong sales and its first annual profit, Tesla shares jumped more than eight times last year and hit a record high of $883 per share in January. But they have since fallen as hedge fund managers raise concerns that it is overvalued.
The shares closed at $576 per share on Monday, valuing the electric car maker at around $555 billion.
Burry also said last year that the green regulatory credits which Tesla has relied on to generate profits will dwindle as Fiat Chrysler increases sales.
Stellantis, formed through the merger of Italy’s FCA and France’s PSA, said this month it expects to achieve its European carbon dioxide emissions targets this year without environmental credits bought from Tesla.
Scion, which does not hold external capital, also lifted its exposure to energy last quarter, adding 530,000 shares in Golden Ocean Group, 323,823 shares in SunCoke Energy and 225,000 shares in Occidental Petroleum. (Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin and Maiya Keidan; Additional reporting by Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)