Apple tried to buy Tesla for more than it’s currently worth a few years ago

Apple reportedly offered to buy Tesla at around $240 per share back in 2013.

The bid from six years ago is now being reported as Tesla’s share price has dipped under the price Apple was allegedly willing to pay.

Today, Craig Irwin, senior research analyst at Roth Capital Partners, went on CNBC and talked about the bid:

“Around 2013, there was a serious bid from Apple at around $240 a share.”

The analyst didn’t disclose his sources, but he added:

“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.”

Irwin argues that Apple could still have interest in purchasing Tesla – especially since Tesla’s valuation has taken a major hit over the past months.

He says that Apple’s Project Titan, which is developing an autonomous electric vehicle, is still ongoing and the tech giant could be interested in using some of Tesla’s EV expertise.

The Cupertino company has already been relying heavily on Tesla’s expertise through poaching. Several senior Tesla engineers and executives have moved to Apple in recent years, most recently Apple hired Tesla’s head of electric powertrains.

Here’s Craig Irwin’s interview on CNBC:

We already know that Elon Musk looked into selling Tesla back in 2013, but I am not sure about this $240 per share price that Apple was apparently willing to pay.

In the Elon Musk biography by Ashlee Vance, it was revealed that Musk and Larry Page, the head of Alphabet (Google’s parent company), had a deal for the latter to purchase Tesla:

In the first week of March 2013, Musk reached out to Page, say the two people familiar with the talks. By that point, so many customers were deferring orders that Musk had quietly shut down Tesla’s factory. Considering his straits, Musk drove a hard bargain. He proposed that Google buy Tesla outright — with a healthy premium, the company would have cost about $6 billion at the time — and pony up another $5 billion in capital for factory expansions. He also wanted guarantees that Google wouldn’t break up or shut down his company before it produced a third-generation electric car aimed at the mainstream auto market. He insisted that Page let him run a Google-owned Tesla for eight years, or until it began pumping out such a car. Page accepted the overall proposal and shook on the deal.

It was during a brief difficult time for Tesla to ramp up Model S production and deliver cars to customers, but things turned for the better and Musk reportedly dropped the deal.

At the time, there were rumors of Musk meeting with Apple’s mergers and acquisitions chief Adrian Perica. It’s not hard to believe that if he was looking to make a deal with Google, he also checked if Apple was interested.

Now as to the deal still being relevant today, I am not so sure. Apple might still be interested. They certainly have the cash and Tesla’s valuation has been dropping fast, but I am not so sure Musk would want to get behind a sale.

Ultimately, he is not the only one with a say in this, but he is still the biggest shareholder.

While things haven’t been going great lately, Tesla went back to the market to raise a few billion dollars. If they were interested in selling, I don’t think that would have been their first move.

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