Elon Musk Had to Snub Apple's Buyout Bid Even if Tesla Is in Code Red

By CCN: When Tesla's stock crashed below $200 this week after the company tumbled into a "code red," many on Wall Street wondered if Elon Musk should've accepted Apple's $240-a-share buyout offer from 2013.

However, despite the horrendous week Tesla is having, Musk was right to stick by his guns.

Elon Musk Institutes Emergency Cost-Cutting

Last week, Musk admitted in a frantic internal email that Tesla is in dire financial straits. Tesla only has $2.2 billion in cash on hand, which is just enough money to last another 10 months.

“This is a lot of money, but actually only gives us about 10 months at the Q1 burn rate to achieve break even!”

To stem the bleeding, Musk instituted an immediate cost-cutting plan to slash expenses.

Tesla Plummets into a 'Code Red'

This -- coupled with a mass stock sell-off this week -- has caused Tesla to tumble into a "code red situation," according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, who wrote:

"If Tesla is unable to earn profit in the second half of the year, the company may need to raise another $1 billion to $2 billion of capital."

"With a code red situation at Tesla, Musk & Co. are expanding into insurance, robotaxis, and other sci-fi projects/endeavors when the company instead should be laser-focused on shoring up core demand for Model 3 and simplifying its business model and expense structure."

Analyst: Apple Is Probably Still Interested in Tesla

While many on Wall Street are washing their hands of Tesla at this seemingly apocalyptic turn of events, some analysts are digging in their heels. Take Craig Irwin, an analyst at Roth Capital Partners.

Irwin told CNBC that since Apple wanted to acquire Tesla in 2013, it's probably still interested (video below). And this prevents him from losing faith in Tesla despite its current struggles.

“The reason we weren't more bearish [about Tesla] when we rolled coverage back out several months back is the bid from Apple. If Apple had interest then, they would probably have interest now at the right price."

If Apple Wants Tesla, So Do Other Tech Companies

In 2013, Tesla's stock was trading at roughly $104, so Apple's $240-a-share bid was a significant markup from its price at the time. That shows that Apple believed Tesla was worth the big bucks.

So if Apple has faith in Tesla, there's no doubt that other technology companies also want to court it. In other words, Tesla was a hot property back then, and it remains so today.

tesla stock price elon musk
Tesla stock is having a rough week, but CEO Elon Musk has helped it grow steadily during the past five years. | Source: Yahoo Finance

Do Not Underestimate Elon Musk or Tesla

Neither Tesla nor Apple ever publicly confirmed the takeover talk. However, Irwin says multiple sources confirmed that Apple had tabled a “very credible” offer.

“Around 2013, there was a serious bid from Apple at around $240 a share. This is something we did multiple checks on. Apple bid for Tesla. I know from multiple different sources that this was very credible.”

Moreover, Irwin says Apple is developing its own autonomous electric car under an initiative called Project Titan. That's why he's certain that Apple still wants to get in bed with Tesla — because in business, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

"Right now, Apple is building multiple, very large dry rooms in California. They're doing something interesting and very exciting on the battery side. Project Titan is absolutely not dead."

Analyst: 'Tesla Has Set the Pace'

While it's trendy to dump on Elon Musk, you can never count him out. For one, Tesla is years ahead of its competition, especially with its use of silicon carbide semiconductors. Analyst Craig Irwin agrees.

"Tesla has set the pace on new technology adoption and really pushed the pedal on an industry that is very stodgy. Tesla is very much a technology company that looks like a car company."

Shareholder: Tesla Stock Will Top $4,000 in 5 years

Sadly, much of the recent drama surrounding Tesla stems from Musk's clashes with the SEC over his Twitter habits. But that matter was finally settled on April 26. So far, Musk has been more careful with his tweeting. And that's a good sign.

So while the media continue to screech about Musk's flighty personality, many shareholders remain confident that Tesla's best days are ahead of it. Just ask Cathie Wood, the CEO of ARK Invest.

As CCN reported, Wood predicts that Tesla's stock is primed for explosive growth over the next five years. In fact, she believes TSLA will spike 1,200% by 2024 to top $4,000.

Woods' bear-case price target is $700 a share. That’s still more than triple Tesla's current stock price of $205.

Musk: 'I Don't Ever Give Up'

Given the excitement that Elon Musk has generated for the fledgling electric-car industry and the fact that he launches satellites into space in his spare time, would you really bet against him? If you're not convinced, listen to him in his own words.

“I don't ever give up. I'd have to be dead or completely incapacitated.”

 

 

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About the author

Samantha Chang
Samantha Chang

Samantha Chang is a New York City-based financial editor who writes about crypto and business at CCN. She is a law school grad and an alum of the University of Pennsylvania. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at Samantha_Chang.

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