This past weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that representatives from Apple met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk. What made the story particularly intriguing is that Apple mergers and acquisitions specialist Adrian Perica was reportedly in attendance. The Chronicle also relayed that Tim Cook may have been there as well. As a result, rumors of an Apple/Tesla acquisition, however unsubstantiated, began to swell.
Late on Wednesday afternoon, Musk confirmed in an interview with Bloomberg Television that Tesla had in fact met with Apple sometime last Spring.
If one or more companies had approached us last year about such things there's no way we could really comment on that. We had conversations with Apple, I can't comment on whether those revolved around any kind of acquisition.
While the notion of Apple acquiring a forward-thinking and innovative company like Tesla is certainly exciting, the idea of such a deal actually going through is far fetched. So while the presence of Perica at any meetings with Tesla executives might understandably raise a few eyebrows, many believe that any high-level talks between the two companies likely focused on Tesla's plans to construct a massive lithium-ion battery plant, a structure Musk often refers to as a "gigafactory." Recall, after all, that Apple uses lithium-based rechargeable batteries in its mobile products.
Having said that, Apple partnering up with Tesla in some capacity as it relates to this massive battery plant is a lot more feasible than an acquisition.
When asked straight up if Tesla would even be open to selling if the right offer came along , Musk said that such a scenario would be very unlikely.
I think that's very unlikely because when you stay super-focused on creating a compelling mass-market car, I'd be very concerned in any acquisition scenario, whoever it is, that we'd become distracted from that task which has always been the driving goal of Tesla.
If there was a scenario where it seemed like it would be more likely that we would be able to create the mass market sort of affordable, compelling electric car then possibly it would make sense to entertain those discussions. But I don't currently see any scenario that would improve that probability, so that's why I think it's very unlikely.