Tesla’s Elon Musk Says Apple CEO Turned Back On Takeover Call

Tesla Inc.’s billionaire founder Elon Musk disclosed that he had in the past approached Apple CEO Tim Cook to start talks about a potential takeover of the electric car maker for one-tenth of its current value.

“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),” Tesla’s (TSLA) Musk wrote in a Twitter post, adding that Cook “refused to take the meeting.”

Musk made the comments in reaction to a Reuters story that Apple (AAPL) is stepping up its self-driving car technology and is planning to produce a passenger vehicle by 2024 that could include its own breakthrough battery technology.

The sweet spot to Apple’s strategy is a new battery design that could “radically” lower the cost of batteries and increase the vehicle’s range, Reuters said, citing a person who has seen Apple’s battery design. The iPhone maker plans to use a unique “monocell” design that bulks up the individual cells in the battery and frees up space inside the battery pack by eliminating pouches and modules that hold battery materials.

“A monocell is electrochemically impossible, as max voltage is ~100X too low,” Musk wrote in Twitter post replies. “Maybe they meant cells bonded together, like our structural battery pack?”

Meanwhile, Reuters also reported that Apple had put Doug Field, who had previously also worked at Tesla, in charge to oversee its automotive project, also known as Project Titan.

Tesla shares closed 1.5% lower on Tuesday. The stock is down 2.4% over the past three days following its inclusion in the benchmark S&P 500 Index. On a year-to-date basis, the shares have exploded 665%. (See TSLA stock analysis on TipRanks)

This week, Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives ramped up TSLA’s price target to $715 (12% upside potential) from $560, but still maintained a Hold rating as he expects increased demand for EV vehicles going into 2021. Ives estimates that EV vehicles will make up 10% of total auto sales by 2025 compared to 3% today.

“We believe this demand dynamic will disproportionately benefit the clear EV category leader Tesla over the next few years especially in the key China region which we believe could represent ~40% of its EV deliveries by 2022 given the current brisk pace of sales,” Ives wrote in a note to investors. “China could see eye popping demand into 2021 and 2022 across the board with Tesla’s flagship Giga 3 footprint a major competitive advantage, as domestic players such as BYD, Nio, Xpeng, and Li also are also firing on all cylinders.”

This year’s stellar rally has left the rest of Wall Street analysts mostly sidelined on the stock. The Hold analyst consensus shows 11 Holds, 7 Sells and 7 Buys. That’s with an average price target of $ 446.59, implying 30% downside potential lies ahead over the coming 12 months.

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