Which companies could buy Tesla?

Which companies could buy Tesla?

Lets face it, that day is approaching.

I just hope that a successful high tech company gets it instead of those old school auto makers. Regardless who buys it, expect increase in prices to reflect market value and pressure from the board. I already made a point that the base Model 3 should cost at minimum $39K.

Apple may end up buying it. Elon could become the CEO and he could leverage Apple vast resources to accelerate the delivery of the Model 3 and future models. Honestly under Tim Cook I doubt this car initiative at Apple may work.

Cisco Systems could benefit as well. Cisco has around $60B in cash reserves. Buy Tesla for under $35B and appoint Elon as the CEO.

KP in NPT | May 2, 2016

Elon had a handshake deal with Google during the 2012 crisis.

I don't agree the day is approaching. Elon will not relinquish control anytime soon unless he absolutely has to. I don't think he will trust a new owner to fulfill his mission. He also believes Tesla will be worth many billions should the 3 and then possible 4 succeed. | May 2, 2016

Plenty of companies could buy Tesla, but I don't see them all that interested (not-invented-here syndrome) as well as Tesla having little or no interest in being bought. Stranger things have happened, but I give it very long odds.

SamO | May 2, 2016

When is Tesla going to buy Apple?

slasher0016 | May 2, 2016

I definitely don't see any way an automobile company buys Tesla. Tesla is about a whole lot more than just cars. I would think it would have to be one of the behemoths like Google or Apple. Overall though, I don't see Apple as a very good fit because, while there are millions of iGroupies (patent pending) there are plenty of iHaters as well and that would eliminate a large buying populace.

kristiannobs | May 2, 2016

I don't think tesla is for sale tbh. I think Elon is about the full package as his companies show.

JeffreyR | May 2, 2016

Most of Apple's and Cisco's money is offshore. So while they both have a ton of cash and securities, they would pay a lot of taxes to acquire Tesla.

Since Tesla's manufacturing techniques are pretty automated, I don't think it would make sense for Tesla to buy up a smaller company's manufacturing either. They just need space.

PeterPlt | May 2, 2016

Elon is an entrepreneur. He loves the creative process of a start-up. Once it is over that hump, where are his kicks? The next BIG thing... Space X and whatever follows. He can accelerate Space X and others with the cash from the car company and still be assured of his vision for Tesla by maintaining board control. Selling Tesla is a reasonable option for him. It is possible that it could also be the best thing for the cars and the customers... with the right buyer. He has been disappointed by those transitions earlier in his career. He is likely to be very deliberate if, when and how he changes his ownership of Tesla.

Sparky | May 2, 2016


dd.micsol | May 2, 2016

I don't see Apple doing it.
I don't see MSFT doing it.
I don't see GE doing it although -it kinda makes sense for them-huge engineers and energy dept.
Google-emmmm.... maybe.
amazon-no way.
Ebay-I doubt it, but it does have Elon ties.
I'm honestly thinking - mobileye.
OR maybe SpaceX buys it and put in hyperloop as well when it goes public.
SETI tesla hyperloop.
I just don't see anything happening anytime soon. Really. This is probably 5-10yrs out given the state of demand right now. It's more possible that Elon just moves on as partner.
SpaceX hyperloop will become is major interest 10yrs from now.

Red Sage ca us | May 2, 2016

OP: Doesn't matter. No one will. Ain't gonna happen. That is a good thing.

Bighorn | May 2, 2016

Pungoteague Dave

mos6507 | May 2, 2016

I think the endgame is either Apple or Google will buy it and either way Tesla will operate relatively free of interference, sort of like how Pixar operates in relation to Disney. Pixar had the talent and the know-how, and Disney had the deep pockets they needed. It was a win-win. The same situation is playing out at Tesla. No matter how successful the Model 3 is, the need to scale out and conduct additional R&D for more vehicles will eat up their cash-flow.

Note that Amazon just posted its best financials in a long time (maybe ever) and a big part of that is due to its heavy diversification out of its original eCom and into cloud services (now 2/3rds of its revenue). I think Tesla would need to do the same to be able to subsidize the car operations. The Powerwall side of things is what would need to explode into gangbusters business for that to happen.

I don't think the employee poaching and the ribbing going on between Tesla and Apple precludes a truce. I think Musk has more of a true rivalry with Jeff Bezos since Musk is ultimately more passionate about rockets than cars.

adoh2010 | May 2, 2016

Tesla is valued at more than half of GM while it sells orders of magnitude less cars. Tesla is valued this high because of Elon Musk, the man has proven time after time that he can do what most people deemed impossible and that's why the company's worth it's future "not current" potential. If Elon sells, the company crashes.

Ankit Mishra | May 3, 2016

Why do you feel that way? There is no company in the world that can buy Tesla and would allow it the level of autonomy that it enjoys now. There existence will shake when they will witness how Elon takes his decisions. They will get scared and will only damage Tesla.
Also, Elon doesn't have any time for fodder activities that other companies engage in. Smartphone, computers, VR etc are fodders in comparison to protecting environment and making humanity multi planetary.
Tesla is doing fine. Any misguided attempt to interfere with will be dangerous IMHO.

Ross1 | May 3, 2016

Tesla could now multiply its income by selling software, licences, AP, autonomous systems etc WITHOUT HAVING TO BUILD any more factories or production lines.
With very extremely ludicrous insane profit.

sp_tesla | May 3, 2016

"Ross | May 3, 2016
Tesla could now multiply its income by selling software, licences, AP, autonomous systems etc WITHOUT HAVING TO BUILD any more factories or production lines.
With very extremely ludicrous insane profit."


TM & shareholders board members should push for above.

EV version 300+ miles range, 0-60 in less than 4 seconds for the following flagship cars: BMW 750, Lexus LS 500, Audi 8, would be a great start.

mos6507 | May 3, 2016

Musk didn't start Tesla in order to build a brand that would stand its ground and be fiercely independent. Just look at their handling of patents, for instance. He started it in order to change the world (hokey as that sounds). If selling to Apple or Google enables Tesla to deliver on Tesla's mission statement better/faster with no appreciable downside then I think he would take it. I just don't think he's as egotistical about keeping Tesla independent as fans assume.

Tesla's "polite" style of competition is not something stockholders understand. A public company is expected to blitzkrieg in a winner-take-all mentality. Musk doesn't seem to care. He is sticking to his mission statement and the company being public is just a means towards that end.

dsvick | May 3, 2016

He started it in order to change the world... +10
Good point. That's why I don't see him selling to someone who would be in just for the profit, which pretty much rules out everyone except maybe Google.

Chunky Jr. | May 3, 2016

I could see them selling a stake in the company, say 10%, to a company like Apple or Google. Tesla gets a huge infusion of cash, The other gets a great investment and a great platform for their auto ambitions. Apple makes the most sense to me.

adias.angel | May 3, 2016

You might want to give the book Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future a read. It actually talks about this exact scenario back when Tesla was in trouble. Elon made it very clear even back then that Tesla was about changing the industry and by selling it would basically squash the innovation. It will be a very long time before you see someone other than Elon run Tesla.

Red Sage ca us | May 3, 2016

Ross: No. They could have multiplied their income from the Tesla Roadster by doing so... And they did, by taking care of the smart EV and B-Class EV for Daimler, and the RAV4 EV for Toyota. The traditional automobile manufacturers were fine with Tesla Motors simply being a supplier of expertise and guidance with electric cars, along with a few components. But where Tesla thought they were helping to build 'Proof of Concept' cars as a springboard toward mass production by the larger, established manufacturers... Mercedes-Benz and Toyota were not interested in anything more than fulfilling their quota of low volume compliance cars for CARB States.

Now? No way. First, because on principle, Tesla Motors will not allow their technology to be used in either hybrids or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles -- exactly where everyone would want to pay them 'big bucks' for improvments. Next, because the rest of the automotive industry now sees Tesla as a threat. Finally, because none of the traditional automobile manufacturers trust Tesla Motors, that's why they won't join the Supercharger network, or build long range fully electric vehicles that would compete directly against their own most desirable cars.

This is about pride, prejudice, perspective, and power. Sergio Marchionne let their position be known, because no one wants the main part of their mass market cars to be 'farmed out' to someone else. The main point of pride among major traditional automobile manufacturers are their engines. They like what they do, enjoy what they have accomplished thus far, and don't believe the 'bad' (if it exists at all) outweighs the good they have done. They believe that electric motors are inferior and don't want to turn their core business over to outsiders, nor do they want to bring in electric vehicle experts to positions of power within their companies. Their current Suppliers don't care what they do with what they buy from them and place no restrictions on their use. So it doesn't matter to them that they may not actually own the software in the entertainment system or embedded in the antilock braking system, or that is used to render results for the anti-collision system. But Tesla Motors could NOT be allowed to be the sole provider of software systems to control the electric motors in their cars.

Your suggestion is similar to what videogame journalists advised to SEGA for years -- they should give up hardware design and just become a third party software developer for Sony and Nintendo. The idea was that they would become 'more profitable' that way. OK. So, they eventually did just that, and the company became more profitable, but made less money, and all their games were horrible and none of them sold as well ever again. Rather than being the special company they were before, all the life was sucked out of their work by paper pushers who held a firm grasp of 'the bottom line'. Such a surrender leads to mediocrity as the height of achievement.

I do not want to see that happen to Tesla Motors -- but there is no doubt the traditional automobile industry does.

mos6507 | May 4, 2016

That's why they're more likely to sell to another tech company that wants to enter the auto industry (namely Google and Apple). There's less of an existential threat to Tesla's mission-statement doing this.

Red Sage ca us | May 4, 2016

Should Tesla Motors manage to deliver on the order of ~100,000 of Model ☰ during 2017, and ~350,000 during 2018, their survival is guaranteed. They will need no 'Big Brother' to take the reigns or act as the 'Bank of Friends & Family' to support their efforts. And the evaporation of so-called 'subsidies' will be of no concern whatsoever. By 2020 they'll be making money faster than even Elon can manage to spend... maybe.

Chunky Jr. | May 4, 2016

If they made $5K of profit per model 3 (including likely high margin option packages), 350K cars per year would be $1.75B a year in profit. And that's just model 3. With other cars and storage business, it could easily be $2-3B in profit. Question is whether they can keep spending down and not try to do too much too soon.

Red Sage ca us | May 4, 2016

No need to keep spending down before they have a capacity of around 4,000,000 units per year. At that point they can stop growing 50% year-over-year. 25% per year should be fine until they reach 10,000,000 units per year.

mos6507 | May 4, 2016

10 million is what Toyota (the biggest) does. I can imagine Tesla being big, but that big? Remember, this is a company that flirted with bankruptcy more than once. They've got a long long road to travel to get that big.

Chunky Jr. | May 4, 2016

For Tesla to really make a ton of money, they need to license their technology to other manufacturers and get revenue from cars they don't even build. They may not have to build 10M cars a year to get revenue from 10M cars a year.

artC | May 4, 2016

@Chunky "I could see them selling a stake in the company, say 10%, to a company like Apple or Google. Tesla gets a huge infusion of cash, The other gets a great investment and a great platform for their auto ambitions. Apple makes the most sense to me."


Red Sage ca us | May 4, 2016

Chunky Jr.: The only licensing Tesla Motors has done so far were to Daimler (for the smart EV and Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric) and Toyota (the RAV4 EV). Those were what Tesla hoped were pilot projects that would lead to full-fledged production of electric cars by those larger companies. Nope. Those companies were not motivated by anything more than the need to offer low volume compliance cars to satisfy CARB regulations. They had no interest in fully electric cars in any kind of serious volume. I suspect that since Mercedes-Benz and Toyota were on the board for TSLA, they probably suggested the technology be used to enhance their fuel cell vehicles and gasoline hybrid cars, thinking it was a 'perfect match'. I would have loved to have seen the look on their faces when Elon told them flat out, "No. We aren't going to do that." If there were truly a bunch of money in doing side projects for other manufacturers Lotus would be in great shape. Heck, so far it seems no one has even bothered to show serious interest in even using Tesla Motors' patents -- for free. I doubt they would pay them either at this point, even so much as a consultancy fee. They'd rather go to LG instead.

Chunky Jr. | May 5, 2016

@Red : I think things will change after Model 3 comes out and the other manufacturers see that there is real demand for EVs and don't want Tesla to have it all. I could see them licensing supercharging access rather than building all that themselves.

Red Sage ca us | May 5, 2016

Chunky Jr.: I see them circling their Lobbyists around Capitol Hill and arming their Lawyers with sniper weapons and injunctions. I am long past expecting a reasonable, rational, logical response from Detroit in particular, and any of the traditional automobile industry as a whole. I am very disappointed in both Honda (only about 1,100 of the FIT EV) and Chevrolet (a 100 mile radius BOLT), which used to be my favorite automobile companies. Neither company seems to strive for either beauty or technical excellence anymore.

Ross1 | May 5, 2016

'59 Chev :))

bj | May 5, 2016

A fun question to ponder - at what point is Tesla and the BEV effectively invincible? By that I mean BEV technology has reached a point of critical mass and acceptance where no level of interference from Detroit, lobbyists, regulators or legislators can kill off the BEV. The point at which the cat is so far out of the bag that it cannot be put back, the ICE age is effectively over, and even if Tesla died for some reason, someone else would continue the mission.

We can probably agree we aren't at that point yet... but end 2017 with 150k cars? End 2018 with 500k? 2020? Later?

Curious on everyone's thoughts...

mos6507 | May 5, 2016

"at what point is Tesla and the BEV effectively invincible?"

Nobody knows what happens after Tesla ships 400K Model 3s to early adopters. We just don't know how much demand exists beyond that. Can Tesla generate consistent six-figures sales for the Model 3 after early adopters get their cars or will the market quickly saturate?

It LOOKS like we're at an inflection point but a lot of that is wishful thinking on the part of those who want it to be so, while simultaneously there remains super strong sales for big trucks and SUVs.

So really it's not going to be until we can look back on the first few years of Model 3 sales to answer these questions.

Bighorn | May 5, 2016

Two words:
Shark Tank

Chunky Jr. | May 5, 2016

> at what point is Tesla and the BEV effectively invincible

I think there are several factors:
1) range over 300 miles even on low end
2) lower prices
3) 1M+ EVs on the road to the point where most people know someone who has an EV. That will help dispel all the myths and FUD around EVs. People can ask their friends about their experience rather than getting their info from places like Yahoo message boards.
4) a significant increase in gas prices

It won't be the technology that converts people. It will be the convenience, low maintenance, and money saving. Tangible benefits that anyone can relate to.

Red Sage ca us | May 5, 2016

If Tesla Motors can manage to outsell the BMW 3-Series in the US with less than half a year's sales of Model ☰ in 2017, it will be over.

Dansosa | May 10, 2016

If Tesla did sell to Apple the first change we would see would be a change in the operating system. An Apple computer

Red Sage ca us | May 10, 2016

TeslaOS is a form of Linux, highly modified from the Ubuntu distribution. MacOS is descended from a version of UNIX called FreeBSD. I have no idea what iOS is exactly -- except that it sucks. My fear is that Apple would want iOS to be embedded in a car of their own design. That would suck.

carlgo2 | May 11, 2016

@bighorn: So, Musk comes in and makes a pitch about how he can make a super electric car and also giant rockets to go to Mars.

Cuban: You haven't gone door to door trying to sell these things so I am out.
Damon: I'll buy one if it is ever sold, but I know nothing about rockets and so I have nothing to add and I am out.
Mr. Wonderful: Why aren't these things made in China? You will be crushed like the cockroach you are. I am out.
Laurie: I will give you $10K for 51 percent of your company.

Musk: Thank you for your time ("morons" under his breath). Out in the lobby he muses about landing a Falcon Heavy on the studio roof while they are all in it.

ram1901 | May 11, 2016

Why are we even speculating on this question when Tesla again shocked the automotive world again by receiving nearly 400,000 reservations for a car that is not available for sale until Q4 2017?

(Can help myself... have to answer the OPS questions:)
When Tesla fell on tough times a few years back, Musk attempted to make a deal with another tech company to buy the company out to save the dream. Should Tesla face another dead end, I suspect Amazon, Apple or Google would be interested in buying up the intellectual property and know how to assist in their growth plans.

lolachampcar | May 12, 2016

Tesla's patent release simply proves the notion that a patent is a lottery ticket to a law suit and nothing more.

As for someone buying, I agree with those that feel Elon is what you are buying and he is not for sale. Even if you think you are buying him, his nature would not allow him to perform. He'd be off doing building rockets full time in his mind.

Lastly, BeVs are not real for any other OEM until they build batteries for them. If batteries could have been sourced from a vendor, Tesla would have done it. Volume and price prevented it so they are rolling their own (with a lot of help from vendors). Energy storage will eventually dwarf automotive in the Tesla world. Storage was one of the pieces of spaghetti that stuck hard. Elon did not see it coming but surely recognizes it now that it has arrived.

The conversation with utilities went like this-
Whatdaya need six 135 KW-DC supplies for?
Batteries ay, what's the cycle life on them batteries?
Got data to back that up?
We will buy all you can make..........

lolachampcar | May 12, 2016

Now if you want a real play that makes a ton of sense-
Deep pockets steps in and buys a big hunk of Tesla Energy leaving Tesla with a sufficient enough ownership to guarantee its first in line status for batteries while simultaneously dramatically accelerating multiple Gigafactories. Tech, big oil with vision (I know, you're laughing at that one) or the like would define a future for themselves with that one. It reduces cash demands on Tesla while increasing capacity and chances of success for the automotive side. Regretfully it makes way too much sense so its likely not going to happen.

bj | May 12, 2016

And what would Tesla look like if Microsoft bought it? :)

jjs | May 12, 2016

@carlgo2 - +1 That was funny. True, but funny. Thx

carlk | May 12, 2016

My only question is would Tesla wanting to buy Apple in 2030.

mos6507 | May 12, 2016

"And what would Tesla look like if Microsoft bought it? :)"

Blue screen of death during autonomous freeway driving.