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Did Apple bid on Tesla in 2013?

Analysts believe the deal nearly happened.

We know that Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk convinced Google co-founder Larry Page to buy the automaker in 2013, when it was two weeks away from running out of cash. The deal didn't happen, the company made a surprising recovery, but a recent report claims Musk also talked to Apple, and the California-based tech giant made what was then a very generous offer for Tesla.

"Around 2013, there was a serious bid from Apple at around $240 a share. This is something we did multiple checks on. I have complete confidence that this is accurate. Apple bid for Tesla. I don't know if it got to the formal paperwork stage, but I know from multiple different sources that this was very credible," said analyst Craig Irwin in an interview with CNBC.

Tesla stock peaked at about $380 per share in August of 2018, but it traded for as low as $35 in early 2013, and it never went above $200 that year. Viewed in that light, Apple's $240-per-share offer was princely.

"Regarding the acquisition: my understanding is Apple wanted Elon Musk to step away, and that was a deal killer," Irwin added. Surprisingly, he believes that if Apple was interested in purchasing Tesla in 2013, it's still open to an acquisition in 2019 if the price is right. Tesla stock is sinking -- it closed at $192.73 a share on May 22 -- so the timing may be right. Apple is sitting on billions of dollars, so it can afford a take-over, and it's still searching for a way into the automotive industry.

Neither company has commented on the report.

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