It will be painful, this day of Tesla reckoning says Kevin O’Leary. Is he right? The center-sitting Shark Tank shark nicknamed Mr. Wonderful says Tesla is a car company. That may not sound like news to people who see Teslas on the road or those who drive them. But O’Leary says people who own the stock think they’ve got something else. Tesla stockholders apparently don’t think they own a car company like BMW or Ford — they think they own a tech company — akin to Apple. Mr. Wonderful says that’s wishful thinking, calling Tesla a “car company” that’s merely valued like a tech company. For now anyway.
“This company walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and must be a duck. In other words, it’s a car company,” O’Leary told The Street. The conversation was incited by Tesla’s quarterly earnings report, which did look like an early stage tech company’s deal — in that profits are a mirage shimmering in the distance. Believers say that’s okay — founder Elon Musk is building something entirely new from scratch, a la Jeff Bezos with Amazon. O’Leary doesn’t think the analogy holds. O’Leary likes to tell entrepreneurs whose ideas don’t pass muster with him that he’d like to take the business “out behind the barn and shoot it.” Would he tell tell Musk, as he did one Shark Tank aspirant, “This is a very bad idea. It howls at the moon and you should take it out behind the barn and shoot it“? New episodes of Shark Tank air Sundays at 9pm on ABC.