Billionaire Elon Musk is “possibly the most interesting man in the world,” Smead Capital Management’s Cole Smead said in a post on his firm’s website, without referencing the controversial conference call the Tesla Inc. chief executive held this week. Or the beer commercials.
Musk’s “nobility comes from his past as a founder of PayPal, but his popularity only grows in this era as he seeks to tackle big projects that include the car business, space, mass transit and other subjects,” Smead wrote. “Rarely in an era does one person rise to this height of importance attributed to them by the society and time they live in.”
Smead, managing director and portfolio manager at the Seattle-based fund company, compared Musk to the Duke of Abruzzi, Prince Luigi Amedeo, an explorer who made several attempts in the early 20th century to climb K2 in the Himalayas — believed to be the highest point on Earth at the time.
The expedition failed, but instead his group “produced a myriad of topography and photography of this remote region of the world,” Smead said. “If we fast forward in the Duke’s life, he died in Somaliland, current day Somalia, in a nanny state of affairs as a pawn for Mussolini.”
Smead Capital didn’t hold any shares of Tesla as of Dec. 31, according to a regulatory filing. The firm managed $2.3 billion at the time.
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