By on September 21, 2016

McLaren Apple

British supercar maker and racecar developer McLaren Technology Group has refuted a report claiming it is talks with tech giant Apple ahead of a possible takeover.

A McLaren spokesperson has told Street Insider that the earlier report, published in the Financial Times, is incorrect.

“We can confirm McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment,” the spokesperson told Street Insider.

The initial report drew from three sources with alleged knowledge of the company’s actions, which gives it significant credence. FT reporter Tim Bradshaw has tweeted that the publication stands behind its story, despite McLaren’s statement.

Those sources told the Financial Times that talks between the two companies have been ongoing, with Apple angling for either a full takeover or a strategic investment. The talks reportedly began “several months” ago.

A takeover or partnership between the two companies makes sense, as McLaren is a technology powerhouse. Its in-house designed electronic control units are standard equipment on all Formula One entries, while its hybridization technology and work with carbon fiber construction is cutting edge.

Meanwhile, Apple’s shadowy self-driving car program has undergone significant changes in scope, with an emphasis placed on technology development. Apple’s interest in McLaren would be understandable.

The sources told FT that McLaren would be worth $1.3 billion to $1.9 billion in the event of a takeover. The company posted a $27 million net profit in 2015, from $617 million in revenue. It also recently pledged to invest $1.3 billion into research and development over the next six years.

(Note: this post has been updated to reflect new information)

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43 Comments on “McLaren Refutes Reports of Apple Talks, Possible Takeover...”


  • avatar
    05lgt

    I can’t speak to engineering or technology synergies, but the marketing (at a quick glance) looks to line up well for this. It won’t likely harm McLaren’s brand, and even a tiny uptick in iWhatever sales will cover this deals costs. A few special colors of iPhone 8s and Airs with some McLaren badging… There’s your billion.

  • avatar
    Rocket

    Now that would be a brilliant move. Purchase a profit-making brand with plenty of tech know-how, and allow that tech to trickle down to mainstream products. I’m assuming we’re talking about a separate Apple brand, of course. I don’t think they’d be doing themselves any favors by making a $40K McLaren.

    • 0 avatar

      As I’ve reported here @ TTAC, McLaren has no interest in making mass market cars. You have to sell tens of thousands of $40K cars to make money. McLaren is capacity limited at 4,000 units and selling an everyman’s sports car would upset their existing customer base due to exclusivity issues.

  • avatar
    RHD

    Now when the self-driving Applemobile comes out, it will look very cool and go very fast. And although you’re buying a supercar with world class handling, Apple will not allow you drive it yourself.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Now for service, you can drive your car to the local Apple store and speak to one of our Geniuses.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Did you try turning it on and off?

      What happens if you remove the battery, wait a few min and put it back in?

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Here at Apple, we make our products easy to operate. For your own safety, no Apple product has a removable or replaceable battery. If you need to remove your battery, please proceed to an Apple Hometown Shoppe and purchase a new Apple device from a Geniuswizard.

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          I got nauseous, are we even?

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          I’ve heard the non-removable battery wasn’t for safety, but for aesthetics. Steve Jobs considered visible screws on the phone ugly. Beauty is a big part of the Apple magic, so nothing is too trivial.

          Otherwise, have you tried command+option+P+R?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s just silly. You don’t need visible screws to have a phone backing which snaps on and off.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            @CorryDL – “That’s just silly. You don’t need visible screws to have a phone backing which snaps on and off.”

            You’ll feel the difference in your hand, the same way you’ll notice a solid door thunk on a luxury vehicle versus one on an “Ace of Base.” Also, the trend is moving toward water resistance, and the iPhone 7 purportedly can survive 30 minutes submerged, thanks to its sealed nature.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            “That’s just silly. You don’t need visible screws to have a phone backing which snaps on and off.”

            And it’s not going to be made of metal and feels cheap which is exactly opposite of Apple phones.

            With phones now headed towards being water resistant and or water proof even Samsung is moving away from removable batteries–at least until they explode in your pocket.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    In other news S.C. Johnson, the maker of Pledge, is considering a purchase of the Morgan Motor Company.

  • avatar
    John

    Folks expect an Apple Car to be a boring, Prius type vehicle – but what if it’s a supercar? What if that supercar can go around a race track faster in autonomous mode than when an experienced human drives it? Formula One pretty much has that capability already. That would certainly shake up the automotive world. I suspect such a bold maneuver would be more Steve Jobs-like than Tim Cook-like.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “What if that supercar can go around a race track faster in autonomous mode than when an experienced human drives it?”

      Where is the fun in that?

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      “What if that supercar can go around a race track faster in autonomous mode than when an experienced human drives it? Formula One pretty much has that capability already.”

      Really? I missed this weekend’s race in Singapore, but unless they’ve done some serious revamping of F1 cars in the past few weeks then I doubt very much that there are ANY F1 cars capable of going around a racetrack autonomously, let alone faster than a human could drive it.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        It takes ten human beings to even turn one of the things on. They’re the *opposite* of autonomous.

      • 0 avatar
        John

        Yeah, yeah, yeah – things will always stay just the way they are today. A computer will never beat a human at chess. Last weekend’s race is as far as racing will ever advance. You might want to consider – Apple doesn’t lack for development money, or high quality programmers – buying McLaren would give them the race car capability. Racing is physics, physics is math, and computers are very, very good at math.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    Tax dodge?

    Will they put nets outside the McLaren factory?

  • avatar
    whitworth

    Just when you thought Apple under Tim Cook couldn’t get any worse.

    Those billions are burning a hole in his pocket and some really dumb projects are being pursued that are not in the best interest of shareholders.

    I have been an Apple shareholder for a while and I just sold recently as the company is rudderless.

    • 0 avatar

      Tim has NO vision. Like a… well, cook who doesn’t what to do in the kitchen. Do you expect him to come with a revolutionary device like the iPhone? Don’t think so.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyJZX

        Lets put this into perspective… Apple bought Beats for $3 billion plus… so Jay Z pocketed close to THREE times this McLaren deal?

        Microsoft bought Minecraft for $2.5 billion? TWICE this McLaren deal?

        I put it to you that Apple buying McLaren isnt even a blip on their radar.

        Makes good press, ends be being like you buying lunch.

        • 0 avatar
          05lgt

          How much of Beats by Dre did Jay Z own? I was all aware and such of Dr. Dre’s position on being raps first billionaire, but didn’t hear so much from this east coast Jay Z fellow. WEST SIIIEEED!

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      The stuff Apple is doing to raise awareness of the existence of something called a “James Corden” is particularly distressing.

  • avatar
    vtecJustKickedInYo

    Or Apple could just buy Chrysler. They could strip the company and patents, and use current plants and tooling to build new cars. Similar to how Tesla is using NUMMI to build their cars.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I’ll continue to not support Apple by only buying their old computers.

    I wish the Apple that had made the Power Mac G3 and G4 and the original iMac was still around.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Charge up your Newton!

    • 0 avatar
      ...m...

      …my old PPC boxes are still kicking ass and taking names over a decade later: they’re fantastically-capable machines as long as you don’t need new software…yeah, *that* apple, the one with ‘computer’ in its company name, developed great open hardware and software, both…

      …as awesome as shiny-new spaceship cars are, though, i guess i’m still too anachronistic in clinging to the idea of sustainable longevity in major purchases to buy into tightly-integrated (and rapidly abandoned) software UI for cars…give me mechanical switchgear driving a competent ECU, then let *me* operate the car for posterity while carrying a disposable computer in my pocket instead: i can handle replacing the latter after three or four years, but not the former…

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        My G3 will run early versions of OS X, so with that and a USB 2.0 expansion card I can basically use it like a modern PC for basic tasks. Unless it’s old enough my printer won’t recognize it.

  • avatar

    Now I understand the rumor that F1 driver Jenson Button is leaving McLaren. Next time there’s talk about a new Mac, Apple might be talking about a self-driving McLaren. You know, instead of a multi-million dollar costing driver that steers the F1 car, you see robots with remote controls steering the car from the paddock.

  • avatar
    Tifighter

    This story is so bat-sh_t crazy, with no obvious reasons for either party to consider it, that it might actually be true. I mean, why make this up?

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Sponsorship. We get to see the Apple name on the sides of Formula 1 and LeMans cars again.


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