Billionaire Ron Baron: I could make 30-50 times my money on Tesla over next 15 years
Billionaire buy-and-hold investor Ron Baron told CNBC on Friday he believes he can make 30 to 50 times his money on his investment in Tesla in the next 15 years.
He called Tesla "maybe the most interesting" company he's ever invested in over his 46 year career.
"I think in this investment from here in the next 15 years, we can make 30 to 50 times our money," said Baron on the sidelines of the annual Baron Investment Conference in New York City.
Baron owns about 1.5 million Tesla shares, valued at around $300 million. "That represents 1.5 percent of our assets," he said.
"The stock was $33 when we started to invest," he said. Tesla closed on Thursday at $187.42 per share. He said his average cost of buying the stock over more than three years is "over $200 now." Tesla's all-time high was around $280 per share in July 2015.
"[But] it's risky," the founder of Baron Capital told "Squawk Box." "Initially they have to prove the concept; then they got to prove they can make them; [and] they got to prove they can make them profitably."
"With Tesla, nobody wants you to succeed except for the people who buy their product," he said. "The car dealers don't want you to succeed because the [Tesla] cars don't need service. The unions don't want you to succeed because Tesla is remaking the way you make cars."
On Wednesday, Tesla said its planned merger with SolarCity would add $500 million to the electric automaker's balance sheet over the next three years, while contributing more than $1 billion in revenue next year.
Tesla Chairman and CEO Elon Musk — also chairman of the solar panel company and the largest shareholder of both companies — has been making the case for the $2.6 billion deal since it was announced in August.
Baron also talked up the deal on CNBC on Friday, calling it a necessity, because he believes that all vehicles will eventually be electric.
"If I'm right, there's a tremendous demand for electricity. Where do you get it from? The electricity grid is not growing. They are not building new power plants," he said.
Under that dynamic, he said Tesla has to buy SolarCity because it's "not going to have enough electricity for cars" otherwise. "The reason you're buying it is you are reinventing the electric grid. That's a bigger opportunity than cars."
Last week, Tesla said it earned an adjusted quarterly 71 cents per share, in only its second profitable quarter ever, compared with an expected loss of 54 cents per share. Third-quarter revenue also beat forecasts on record sales.
Ahead of Friday trading, Tesla shares were off 7.3 percent since reporting results.
More from the Baron Investment Conference:
Musk: Raising cash as buffer may be desirable for Tesla
Tesla-Solarcity merger 'may even be a little late'
Donald Trump's character reflects poorly on United States, Elon Musk says
— Tesla's Elon Musk joins Ron Baron on CNBC from the Baron Conference for an interview at 11:30 a.m. ET on "