Longtime Tesla Inc TSLA bull Ron Baron acknowledged Thursday morning his fund Baron Capital sold 1.7 million shares of the electric automaker despite his long-held belief the stock has a path to $2,000.
What Happened: Baron Capital invested $387 million in Tesla's stock back in 2014 and the position has grown to be worth $5.5 billion in February, Baron said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." Over the past six months, the fund has sold 1.7 million out of its 8-million share position between $450 and $900 a share with an average price of $666.70.
Baron said many of his friends were skeptical with his original 2014 thesis that Tesla's stock would return 20 times.
"We persisted," Baron said. "And at the time we invested, it was unlikely in most people's opinions that electric cars were going to dominate."
Why It's Important: The decision to authorize a sale of a stock he believes still has tremendous upside potential was due strictly to profit-taking as the stock's surge means it accounted for an outsized representation in the fund portfolio, Baron said. The fund also used some of the proceeds from the sale to pay down part of a line of credit.
Baron said it was "painful" to sell close to 2 million shares of Tesla's stock as the company's prospects of eventually selling 20 million cars a year is a more realistic outcome. Tesla has so many opportunities ahead, such as the ability to monetize each of the 20 million cars sold by charging a monthly $100 fee for autonomous driving features.
"That alone is worth the present price of the stock in 10 years," he said.
What's Next: The billionaire himself said he has not sold a single share he personally owns and is unlikely to do so "for another 10 years."
Tesla's stock traded around $657 a share at publication time.