In a tweet, Elon Musk confirmed that during the troubled development process for Tesla's Model 3, he attempted to get a meeting with Tim Cook. His goal apparently was to talk about Apple purchasing the company for what Musk suggests would have been $60 billion.
We will set aside the fact that considering the company's current market value is just over $600 billion, that seems like quite a bargain. Today, Tesla is worth more than the next nine largest automakers--combined.
The Model 3 was fraught with manufacturing delays and problems. Musk previously told investors that building the less-expensive model was "the most difficult logistics problem I have ever seen, and I have seen some tough ones." Just last month, Musk suggested it almost bankrupted the company.
There are really two striking things about this revelation.
The first is that Musk seriously considered giving up control of a company to which he is inextricably linked. It says a lot about the company's situation at the time that Musk was actively exploring a way to sell the company, presumably to tap into Apple's extraordinarily deep pockets and manufacturing prowess.
The second is that Apple's CEO wasn't even interested in taking the meeting. That's actually not that surprising when you think about it.
The Model 3 manufacturing problems were likely already public at the time that Musk was reaching out to Cook. The latter is known for being a master at operations, and the baggage that would have come from cleaning up Tesla's issues doesn't exactly sound all that appealing at any cost. Especially if the company was struggling as much as Musk has said it was.
In addition, aside from Apple's 2014 acquisition of Beats, the company hasn't exactly been known for making large flashy acquisitions. Tesla is a product and brand to itself. While Beats still technically exists as a brand, it appears to mostly have become a side project to Apple's other audio-related products. That wasn't going to happen with Tesla, which employs roughly 50,000 people.
Plus, there's a reasonable chance that Apple simply wasn't up for the headache that would no doubt come from associating itself with Musk. The company is notorious for avoiding the type of drama that Tesla's founder seems to thrive on.
Probably the brashest thing Cook has ever said publicly was to call out Facebook over privacy last week. Even then, he was remarkably reserved considering the social media giant had just taken out back-to-back full-page ads in three of the largest newspapers in the U.S.
Musk, on the other hand, has a more unfiltered approach to social media. On more than one occasion, that has caused headaches including being sued by the SEC. It would be hard to imagine that he'd change just because Tesla's new owners favor a more buttoned-up approach to public statements.
Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.