Elon Musk said on Tuesday that Apple’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook declined to hold a meeting years ago to discuss purchasing Tesla Inc.
In a tweet, Tesla CEO Musk said he reached out to Apple during the “darkest days” of his company’s Model 3 growth to talk about a potential contract. Musk said he intended to explore the prospect of selling one-tenth of its current value to Apple for Tesla, suggesting a price of approximately $60 billion.
Tesla burned cash in 2017 as its mass-market Model 3 electric vehicle ramped up production. Musk then told workers at the company’s plant in Fremont, California, that it faced a “production hell” period of six months or longer. Weeks after making that remark, he tweeted about sleeping on the roof of a factory as he sought to overcome bottlenecks.
Apple chose to move from the creation of a full-fledged Tesla rival to an underlying self-driving car system at the same time. Apple has recruited several former Tesla executives in recent years, specialising in the drive train, car interior and self-driving technology. It has also acquired companies specialising in the production of self-driving vehicles, suggesting that the business is once again considering joining the industry.
During the darkest days of the Model 3 program, I reached out to Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla (for 1/10 of our current value). He refused to take the meeting.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 22, 2020
Since the beginning of 2017, Apple and Tesla shares have soared. Tesla has earned more but is still worth less than a third of the market capitalization of Apple, around 1,400 percent. The stock of Apple has climbed this week, while Tesla slipped on a Reuters article that Apple plans to develop a driverless car for customers in 2024.
Musk’s statement about Apple came a day after Tesla joined Apple in the benchmark S&P 500 Index, capping a year in which its stock has surged. As the business has reported five consecutive quarters of profit, investors have bid up the shares.
When Musk tweeted that he had “funding secured” to take the company private, Tesla’s travails continued into 2018. He decided, as a result, to pay $20 million to settle with the U.S. Commission on Securities and Trade, but also faces an investor complaint. After that tweet, Tesla shares are up about 800 percent.