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Jim Chanos Reveals Short Thesis On A Couple Of Fast-Food Stocks

Kynikos Associates President Jim Chanos was a guest on CNBC's "Squawk Box" to talk about his short positions, both new and old.

New Shorts In Restaurant Space

Chanos said he has been short Dunkin Brands Group Inc  for "about a year." The parent company of Dunkin Donuts is part of a group of restaurants who operate under an "asset light" model in which they sell franchise opportunities rather than operate and own stores themselves. In other words, restaurant chains that follow this strategy are "basically clipping the coupons, collecting royalties."

Chanos said he's short other similar "asset light" restaurant chains

Chanos said he's short other similar "asset light" restaurant chains, including Restaurant Brands International Inc QSR 0.53%, the parent company of Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. In this case, the short thesis is based on one of Burger King's largest franchise owners, a publicly traded company called Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. TAST 0.77%.

Carrols owns "hundreds and hundreds" of Burger King locations and comparing its financials to those of its parent company is "night and day," Chanos said. Specifically, Carrols is growing its revenue but at the expense of margins and its profits are "imploding" from multiple factors which only affect franchise owners, including rising labor costs and higher commodity costs.

"You can't have a situation where the boxes are struggling and the parent is prospering," he said. "That just doesn't work over time."

Musk 'May Be Misleading' Investors

Chanos, a known Tesla bear, also said Tesla Inc TSLA 0.94% CEO Elon Musk "may be misleading investors."

Musk may be guilty of offering investors a bold outlook in new projects which can't be achieved. Specifically, Musk's vision of introducing the Roadster car in 2020 and starting production of the Semi truck in 2021 is unlikely to happen.

"I think Elon Musk has crossed the Rubicon in terms of making statements to investors that he might rue later," Chanos said.

Short Thesis On Health Care

Chanos also said he holds a short position on two companies that "might be worth nothing." These include Envision Healthcare Corp EVHC 0.06% and Mednax MD 0.66%.