Two of the world's most innovative companies may have discussed working together or even joining forces, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk met with Adrian Pierca, Apple’s head of mergers and acquisitions, last spring as analysts were suggesting Apple acquire the electronic carmaker, the Chronicle reported Sunday, citing an unnamed source.
“While a megadeal has yet to emerge (for all of its cash, Apple still plays hardball on valuation), such a high-level meeting between the two Silicon Valley giants involving their top dealmakers suggests Apple was very much interested in buying the electric car pioneer,” the report said.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post. Tesla declined to comment.
Apple and its CEO Tim Cook spent much of last year fighting off concerns from analysts and investors that the company had lost its innovative edge. While the company added new technologies to many of its products in recent years, Apple hasn’t launched a new product in a new category since 2010, when the iPad first came out, according to USA Today.
Acquiring Tesla could ease some of those worries. Nothing says “IT’S THE FUTURE” quite like a car that runs on electricity with a fancy touchscreen that tells drivers where they can charge up next. And Musk, a co-founder of PayPal, has become somewhat of a Silicon Valley darling, unveiling ideas like the Hyperloop -- an idea for an elevated transit system that could get people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just 30 minutes -- to much fanfare.
Andaan Ahmad, an analyst at German bank Berenberg, said as much when he suggested Apple buy Tesla in an open letter to Cook in October. Ahmad argued Apple needs “an out of the box” move into a new market, according to CNNMoney. Otherwise, he wrote, Apple’s future will only be about how much money the company can continue to squeeze out of the iPhone.
In addition, if Apple acquired Tesla, the tech giant would get the added benefit of bringing an innovative leader like Musk into the fold. "You could strike up a partnership and obtain a new iconic partner to lead Apple's innovation drive," Ahmad wrote.
Apple isn't the only tech giant to explore the auto world. Google has a project in the works for driverless cars that would keep people safer on the road.
Musk has signaled in the past that an Apple buy isn't out of the realm of possibility. "They do have a lot of cash," he told Bloomberg in an interview in May.
This story was updated after Tesla declined to comment.