A famous hedge fund bought Tesla stock before it doubled this year. It potentially raked in over $1.5 billion from the bet.

tmohamed@businessinsider.com (Theron Mohamed)
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

AP

  • Renaissance Technologies might have made over $1.5 billion in two months after buying Tesla stock last quarter.
  • The hedge fund raised its stake to 3.9 million shares, worth about $1.6 billion at the end of December.
  • Those shares would be worth almost $3.2 billion now after Tesla's stock rally this year.
  • If Renaissance bought Tesla at $250 in October and sold at the $97o peak, it could have netted almost $3 billion.
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Renaissance Technologies may have netted over $1.5 billion in two months, as it bought a load of Tesla stock before it doubled in value this year.

The quantitative hedge fund, founded by the Cold War codebreaker and math professor Jim Simons, bought 3.3 million shares of Elon Musk's electric-car startup last quarter, recent Securities and Exchange Commission filings show. The purchases boosted its total holding to about 3.9 million shares — a 2.1% stake — at the end of December, according to Bloomberg data.

Renaissance's Tesla shares were worth about $1.6 billion then, based on Tesla's $418 stock price. Given that Tesla's shares now change hands at $850, the fund's stake would be worth about $3.3 billion now.

A $1.7 billion return would be remarkable enough, but Simons may have raked in closer to $3 billion if he bought Tesla shares at the $250 mark in early October and sold at their $970 peak earlier this month. At those price points, Renaissance's stake would have surged to almost $3.8 billion from less than $1 billion.

Tesla stock skyrocketed after the automaker posted strong earnings, quickly opened its Shanghai factory, and announced a production target of 500,000 vehicles this year. The rally has boosted Tesla's market capitalization to over $150 billion, surpassing the combined market caps of Ford, GM, and Chrysler, the "Big Three" US automakers.

The stunning stock rally has burned short-sellers and spurred investors, industry veterans, and even politicians to warn that it won't last.

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