Cramer: Elon Musk 'floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee' versus investors betting against Tesla

  • Musk is "masterful" in the way he fights back against the short sellers of Tesla stock, CNBC's Jim Cramer says.
  • "He floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee," says Cramer, paraphrasing the famous Muhammad Ali quote.
  • Tesla is one of the most shorted, or most bet-against, stocks on Wall Street.

Elon Musk is "masterful" in the way he fights back against the short sellers of Tesla stock, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Thursday.

"You can't lay a glove on him [Musk]. He floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee," said Cramer, paraphrasing the famous quote from the late boxer Muhammad Ali.

Tesla is one of the most shorted, or most bet-against, stocks on Wall Street. But Musk always seems to have short sellers' number, Cramer said.

Late Wednesday, Tesla disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that Musk bought an additional 72,500 shares of the electric automaker, worth about $24.9 million.

Shares of Tesla were higher Thursday, trading around $355 each. With about 33.7 million shares, Musk's stake in the company he co-founded and runs as chairman and CEO was worth about $11.9 billion. Tesla's stock market value was around $60 billion.

"I remember when I was a hedge fund manager there periodically would be these companies where they knew how to handle the shorts," Cramer said on "Squawk on the Street." "No one has been as masterful. Elon Musk is masterful. He'll take the shorts up there with his rocket to Mars."

Cramer's hyperbole referred to another Musk company, SpaceX, which in February sent the entrepreneur's personal Tesla Roadster into space. At the time of the stunt, Cramer compared Musk to illusionist David Blaine, in the way he distracted from terrible quarterly results at Tesla with a successful SpaceX rocket launch.

In another bit of flooding the zone, Musk's tunnel digging venture Boring Co. said it has won the bidding to build a high-speed express train to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

Musk's Boring Co., SpaceX and Tesla are all separate companies, with only Tesla trading as a public stock.

Tesla shares, which based on Wednesday's close were down nearly 12 percent from their all-time high in September, have been struggling due to production problems with the Model 3. The new sedan is aimed at the mass auto market with a much cheaper price tag starting at $35,000, compared with the base model Model S sedan at $74,500, and the starting price of the Model X SUV at $79,500.

"If he does the Model 3 that he says, if he does the battery business that people are getting a little more excited about, and buying back stock, he's going for broke," said Cramer, host of "Mad Money." The battery business is part of Tesla's solar unit, which includes the Powerwall home backup generator-type system and solar panels and solar roofs tiles for residential structures.

Despite his praise of Musk, Cramer said Thursday he would not go so far as to recommend buying Tesla stock. "It's painful. I don't like to recommend Tesla stock because I can't figure out the valuation," he said. "You can admire Tesla from afar."