Elon Musk Tesla offer to Apple probably last year, deal unrealistic, says analyst

Elon Musk
Elon Musk (Image credit: Recode)

What you need to know

  • Apple analyst Neil Cybart has said Elon Musk's offer to sell Tesla to Apple probably came last year.
  • Cybart, however, says a deal was probably never on the cards.

Apple analyst Neil Cybart says that Elon Musk probably offered to sell Tesla to Apple last year, but that a deal has never been on the cards.

Yesterday, Musk tweeted to say he had offered to sell Tesla to Apple "during the darkest days of the Model 3 program" for 1/10 of its current value, however, Tim Cook refused to take the meeting. The news comes amidst rising reports Apple will make its own foray into the electric vehicle market as early as 2024.

Analyst Neil Cybart has responded to Musk's claim, noting this was likely sometime last year, but that a deal probably wasn't possible:

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Back in 2018 Cybart wrote about this very prospect stating:

Given Apple's interest in transportation and Tesla having the most popular, highest-rated car on the road, many have positioned Tesla as an Apple acquisition target. Apple's strong balance sheet adds fuel to the fire. With $129B of net cash, Apple could pay $70B+ to acquire Tesla and instantly become a player in the auto space.However, Tesla isn't a realistic acquisition target for Apple. More importantly, Apple doesn't need to acquire Tesla in order to meet its goals.

Cybart noted that a brand and product alone was not enough for an Apple acquisition and that Apple did not use mergers and acquisitions to acquire revenue or users.

Cybart writes:

In essence, Apple isn't interested in buying its way into new product categories. Instead, Apple positions M&A as a tool to either enhance its existing product line or plug holes in the product development process.

Cybart did note that Apple would be very interested in the talent Tesla had in its many engineers, but that a much easier solution was to simply poach this talent, rather than buy the whole company. You can read the full report from 2018 here.

Cybart, noting Musk's penchant for outlandish tweeting, also noted that Musk "doesn't get along with Apple", which was worth noting when reading his tweet, and that it was possible that he simply "can't stand the attention Apple has been getting the past 24 hours."

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9