Apple’s secretive Project Titan still hasn’t managed to produce the long-rumored iCar. According to a recent report, it appears that the California-based tech giant considered taking a shortcut to the automotive industry by purchasing Tesla for considerably more than it was worth — both then and now. Had the deal gone through, the Model S would have likely turned into the Apple Car we’ve been hearing about for years.
Analyst Craig Irwin told CNBC that Apple made a serious bid for Tesla in 2013. It offered to buy the company for approximately $240 a share. To add context, Tesla stock never crossed the $200 threshold during the 2013 calendar year; it started the year at about $35 per share and ended it at roughly $152. Apple made the company an excellent offer, but the deal ultimately fell through.
Sources familiar with the talks between the two companies told Irwin that Apple executives wanted Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk to step away. He refused, which put an end to the talks. Tesla has remained an independent company, and Apple still hasn’t entered the automotive industry, though it reportedly considered either buying or making a large investment in British supercar manufacturer McLaren in 2016.
Interestingly, Irwin believes an Apple takeover remains on the table, especially as Tesla’s stock price comes crashing down from an August 2018 high of nearly $380 per share. It has tumbled by 46 percent since, opening at about $195 on May 22. Apple, on the other hand, has billions of dollars in its war chest, and it’s still trying to gain a foothold in the automotive industry, though it’s focusing on developing technology for electric and autonomous cars. The odds of seeing an Apple-badged car in the near future are low.
“If Apple had interest then, they would probably have interest now, at the right price,” Irwin wrote.
Neither company has commented on the report. Digital Trends reached out to both Tesla and Apple, and we’ll update this story if we hear back.
If the report is accurate, Apple wouldn’t be the first tech company that tried adding Tesla to its portfolio. The automaker’s future looked relatively dim in 2013 because the Model S — which was a year old at the time — was plagued by serious problems. Sales were so low that Musk had to shut down the company’s factory in Fremont, California. Faced with an uncertain future, he allegedly persuaded Google co-founder Larry Page to buy Tesla for $11 billion. The deal fell apart when sales increased as quality improved and Tesla was able to pay off its loans.
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