It's long been known Apple Inc. once wanted to buy Tesla Inc. to give it a leg-up in the race to deploy fleets of self-driving cars. That plan didn't pan out and Apple has since been the laggard among tech firms committed to this inevitable future mode of travel.
Now, however, we know what Apple would have done with Tesla founder Elon Musk if that deal had fallen through. Apple would have fired him.
New revelations indicate Apple failed to acquire Tesla back in 2013 because Musk wouldn't step down as chairman and CEO of the firm.
"Regarding the acquisition, my understanding is Apple wanted Elon Musk to step away, and that was a deal killer," said Craig Irwin, an analyst at Roth Capital Partners, according to CNBC.
Musk is said to have met with Adrian Perica, Apple's head of mergers and acquisitions, and most likely CEO Tim Cook about the proposed acquisition.
Analysts at the time noted that for a deal to take place, Apple would have to decide what to do with the outspoken and mercurial Musk and his penchant for seizing attention for many of the wrong reasons. Musk isn't anything at all like Cook, to put it mildly.
Despite its hefty stock price in 2013, Tesla remained a prime target for Apple, claims Irwin.
"Around 2013, there was a serious bid from Apple at around $240 a share," said Irwin.
"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 a formal paperwork stage, but I know from multiple different sources that this was very credible."
Tesla's steadily weakening stock price today is again bringing it under closer scrutiny by Apple, claims Irwin.
"If Apple had interest then, they would probably have interest now at the right price," he said.
Tesla shares are down 38% year-to-date. Tesla's stock stood at $310 on Jan. 2 and $205 as of Tuesday. The stock has plunged 46% from its high in August 2018 when CEO Elon Musk earned the ire of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by saying he had "funding secured" to take the company private at $420 a share.
Back in January 2018 when Tesla had a market cap of $58 billion, rumors swirled Tesla was a prime target for a takeover by Apple. At the time, Tesla became a takeover target because its valuation had shrunk, which is the exact same situation it's in today.
This article originally appeared in IBTimes US.