Those ongoing analyst predictions that Apple would buy Tesla may have been based on some sort of reality. According the the SF Chronicle, Adrian Perica, Apple’s head of mergers and acquisitions, met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last spring.
A source tells The Chronicle that Perica met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Cupertino last spring around the same time analysts suggested Apple acquire the electric car giant…
Six months before Ahmad’s letter, Musk met with Perica and probably Cook at Apple headquarters, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect business relationships. 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.
But it is unlikely that Apple wanted to buy the car company and even more unlikely that Musk would sell it. In response to the acquisition rumors at the time, he tweeted the following:
Forgot to say one thing at Tesla annual shareholders meeting: just as my money was the first in, it will be the last out.—
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 05, 2013
But it’s highly likely that Apple would want to buy into one of Tesla’s major upcoming projects.
Tesla is set to announce a US battery ‘Gigafactory’ in the coming days that will more than double world-wide lithium-ion battery production. Apple obviously has a huge interest here, as it uses the batteries in all of its products. Musk has announced that there will be several high-profile partners in the green US plant, likely including Panasonic and possibly Solar City. Apple has been investing in big green US factories recently, including its Mesa AZ Sapphire venture.
There is some synergy between the companies. Tesla has been hiring high-level engineers from Apple at a pretty impressive clip, and Apple’s Cupertino parking lot sometimes looks like a Tesla showroom:
Adrian Perica, a former Goldman Sachs banker, joined Apple several years ago to head up the M&A department. Before that, Steve Jobs was the head of M&A and he’d rarely make deals. For all of Apple’s money, it still makes very few deals, especially compared to its Silicon Valley neighbors like Google and Yahoo.
TSLA’s stock price has been on a tear since its release of the Model S, with shares rocketing from $30 to $200; its market cap is currently near $25B.