Would-be Apple-Tesla Deal Kiboshed by Musk, Report Claims

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
would be apple tesla deal kiboshed by musk report claims

In what kind of shape would Tesla find itself today if tech giant Apple had acquired the automaker in 2013? That’s a question for analysts to ponder in their off hours, as Apple’s reported offer went nowhere.

Craig Irwin, an analyst at Roth Capital Partners, claims specific knowledge of the failed bid, telling CNBC that Apple wished to acquire Tesla for $240 a share — a higher price than the automaker’s stock currently trades at.

Irwin’s remarks bolster, if not outright confirm, rumors that Apple once angled to bring the electric automaker into its corporate fold.

“Around 2013, there was a serious bid from Apple at around $240 a share,” Irwin said. “This is something we did multiple checks on. I have complete confidence that this is accurate. Apple bid for Tesla. I don’t know if it got to a formal paperwork stage, but I know from multiple different sources that this was very credible.”

The alleged bid went bust after “Apple wanted Elon Musk to step away,” Irwin said, adding that this “was a deal killer.”

This admission comes a day after Tesla’s once sky-high stock opened trading at under $200 — a remarkable decline from share values just months earlier. On the day of CEO Elon Musk’s fateful go-private tweet, August 7th, Tesla shares hit $379.57. Musk had indicated, via social media, his intention to take the company private at $420 a share. And we all know how that panned out.

Calling Apple’s 2013 bid “very credible,” Irwin said the interest shown in the company then prevents him from being too bearish on Tesla’s stock today.

“If Apple had interest then, they would probably have interest now at the right price,” he commented.

There’s no indication that Apple retains any interest in acquiring the troubled automaker, which ended its last quarter with a $702 million loss. Still, Apple remains interested in fueling the industry’s future, having pivoted from the development of a fully autonomous car to the development of self-driving systems for other automakers. Irwin claims the company is in the process of building large “dry rooms” in California, indicating a focus on lithium-ion battery propulsion.

“My checks are Apple is building several dry rooms, including a couple that are much larger than what you would need for watch or consumer product battery development,” he said.

[Image: Tesla]

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7 of 19 comments
  • TimK TimK on May 22, 2019

    Much like Tesla, Apple's car project was out of control with crazy amounts of money being spent and over a thousand people doing “R&D”. It was so bad that Tim Cook hired former hardware chief Bob Mansfield out of retirement to see what the hell was going on. Mansfield brought some needed sanity, slashed most of the projects and fired 2/3 of the people. He easily saved Apple $2B-$3B a year in unnecessary expenses. If Musk ever gets the boot from Tesla, look for Bob Mansfield to enter the running as his replacement. He is likely the one person with the experience and temperament needed to save the company.

    • See 2 previous
    • HotPotato HotPotato on May 28, 2019

      @TimK Solar City is dying on the vine from inattention. Roof tiles aren't in volume production and there's no timeline for it. Wall batteries are backordered because the batteries are needed for cars. I'd say what you suggest is already happening, but I'm not sure it's actually good for the company.

  • SuperCarEnthusiast SuperCarEnthusiast on May 22, 2019

    If Apple purchased Tesla, with its 300 billion cash in the bank and Apple fanboy based; Apple would clean the EV marketplace one and for all to be the supreme all mighty BEV king for eternity!

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    • HotPotato HotPotato on May 28, 2019

      Makes sense. Between the Teslas with Apple stickers and the Apple laptops with Tesla stickers, I'd say there's a pretty big crossover of the "I want the best/most groundbreaking and I'm willing to pay more for it" crowd. One thing Tesla should learn from Apple: don't cheapen the brand. Nobody wants an iPod Shuffle. And while plenty of people "want" a $35k base Model 3, there's no sense in producing one if it loses money. A Chevy Bolt is essentially an electric Honda Fit and a Model 3 is essentially an electric BMW 3-series; nobody in their right mind expects to get a 3-series for the price of a Fit.

  • Zerocred So many great drives:Dalton Hwy from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle.Alaska Marine Highway from Bellingham WA to Skagway AK. it was a multi-day ferry ride so I didn’t actually drive it, but I did take my truck.Icefields Parkway from Jasper AB to Lake Louise AB, CA.I-70 and Hwy 50 from Denver to Sacramento.Hwy 395 on the east side of the Sierras.
  • Aidian Holder I'm not interested in buying anything from a company that deliberately targets all their production in crappy union-busting states. Ford decided to build their EV manufaturing in Tennessee. The company built it there because of an anti-union legal environment. I won't buy another Ford because of that. I've owned four Fords to date -- three of them pickups. I'm shopping for a new one. It won't be a Ford Lightning. If you care about your fellow workers, you won't buy one either.
  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI coupe....it's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark V.....it was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.