Shares of Tesla jumped earlier this week on reports that CEO Elon Musk had met with Apple’s Adrian Perica, an executive who does merger and acquisition deals for the iPhone-maker.
“We had conversations with Apple,” confirmed Musk to Bloomberg TV’s Betty Liu on Wednesday afternoon. “I can’t comment on whether those revolved around any kind of acquisition.”
When asked point-blank if the electric carmaker were for sale, Musk answered, “I think that’s very unlikely because we need to stay super focused on achieving a compelling – creating a compelling mass market electric car. And I’d be very concerned in any kind of acquisition scenario, whoever it is, that’d be become distracted from that – from that task which has always been the – the driving goal of Tesla.”
“Unlikely” isn’t “no,” but it’s also a far cry from “yes.” The answer was a triumph in saying nothing. Musk clearly knows how to talk like a CEO.
Liu followed up by asking Musk how he’d respond if Apple asked told him they wanted to get into the car business.
“I’d probably tell them that I think it’s a great idea,” said Musk.
The interview was conducted shortly after Tesla announced earnings and guidance that exceeded expectations.
The stock is up more than 10% today.
Here’s an excerpt from the interview transcript courtesy of Bloomberg TV:
LIU: Elon, yesterday your shareholders got a little bit richer on these reports that you had met with the acquisition team at Apple. Is there any truth to a possible partnership, merger with Apple?
MUSK: Well of course it’s – if – if – if one or more companies had approached us last year about such things, there’s no way we could really comment on that.
LIU: Well did you have a conversation with Apple?
MUSK: We had conversations with Apple. I can’t comment on whether those revolved around any kind of acquisition.
LIU: Are you for sale? If there was a right price, are you for sale?
MUSK: I think that’s very unlikely because we need to stay super focused on achieving a compelling – creating a compelling mass market electric car. And I’d be very concerned in any kind of acquisition scenario, whoever it is, that’d be become distracted from that – from that task which has always been the – the driving goal of Tesla.
LIU: But you say it’s very unlikely, but I’m not hearing, Elon – sometimes when I – the years that I’ve known you, if something is not going to happen you say no. But I’m not hearing that. I’m hearing that there is a door open here perhaps at some point.
MUSK: Well if there was a scenario where it seemed like it would be more likely that we would be able to create the mass market sort of affordable, compelling electric car, then – then possibly it would make sense to entertain those discussions. But I – I don’t currently see any scenario that would improve that probability. So that’s why I think it’s very unlikely.
LIU: If anything, Elon, if Apple were to come to you and say, you know what? We want to get in the car business. We actually want to perhaps start making cars. What would you tell them, given your own experience?
MUSK: What would I tell Apple if they said they wanted to make cars?
MUSK: I’d probably tell them that I think it’s a great idea.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.