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Apple-Tesla: A Timeline

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Apple-Tesla: A Timeline

The prospects of an iCar have really gained some traction recently. One way to speed that process up for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL)? Buying a car company, specifically Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA).

Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster -- considered by many the top Apple analyst on Wall Street -- has been saying for a while that Apple should buy the electric car maker.

The Beginning

Munster first revealed this take in July 2015, speaking to Bloomberg Radio. At the time he said Tesla is "the big thing that they could buy that I would be impressed with." Benzinga spoke with the analyst soon after.

"The chemistry of cars is going to change dramatically over the next 10-15 years," Munster told Benzinga. "Tech companies have a real opportunity to box out traditional automotive guys."

Related Link: Gene Munster To Appear On Benzinga's PreMarket Prep After Apple Earnings

Munster believed that firms like Apple have several cost advantages over established auto companies. He said access to Tesla's battery technology could accelerate Apple's entrance into the car world. "[Electric cars] are part of what's in Apple's DNA," he continued.

Munster also said at the time that "people close to Tesla" told him CEO Elon Musk probably wouldn't be immediately receptive to a buyout. However, Munster maintained that the executive has only two options at this point: "sell or get comfortable with Apple as a competitor."

Project Titan

Rumors of an Apple car development began last year. "Project Titan" has been makes waves over that time, although news is still speculative. TechTimes recently laid out a timeline of events related to the project.

As reported by Fortune, Munster wrote in a September note that "Apple investors 'increasingly view the opportunity as a long term growth driver.' Why? Because the automotive industry has come to dominate the tech industry in recent years."

"Design, connectedness, and automation," Munster wrote. "A car by Apple may look completely different than what we think of as a typical car today in terms of shape and size."

Related Link: Apple Investors Have 'Unique' Opportunity, Gene Munster Says

Musk said earlier this month that it's "pretty obvious" Apple is working on an electric car.

Reiteration

Munster further stated his case for a buyout, telling Benzinga earlier this month that Apple will likely use a portion of that cash to expand its presence in the auto industry via M&A. He sees a buyout of Tesla as a practical and shrewd possible move for Apple.

Munster said that $35–50 billion for Tesla is "not a lot of money" for Apple and that the move "makes a lot of sense." In addition to Tesla's electric car technology, Munster sees value in its battery technology and its engineering and IT infrastructure.

Latest Ratings for AAPL

DateFirmActionFromTo
May 2019MaintainsNeutral
May 2019MaintainsMarket PerformMarket Perform
May 2019MaintainsOverweightOverweight

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