Just a short time before Tesla Motors posted its first-ever quarterly profit, the car company almost become a Google property.
That’s according to a new report from Bloomberg, which says that in March of 2013, just weeks before this monetary milestone, Elon Musk was on the brink of selling his company to Google. At the time, Tesla was in dire financial straits and was apparently looking for a lift out of possible bankruptcy.
In the first week of March 2013, Musk reached out to Page, say the two people familiar with the talks. By that point, so many customers were deferring orders that Musk had quietly shut down Tesla’s factory. Considering his straits, Musk drove a hard bargain. He proposed that Google buy Tesla outright — with a healthy premium, the company would have cost about $6 billion at the time — and pony up another $5 billion in capital for factory expansions. He also wanted guarantees that Google wouldn’t break up or shut down his company before it produced a third-generation electric car aimed at the mainstream auto market. He insisted that Page let him run a Google-owned Tesla for eight years, or until it began pumping out such a car. Page accepted the overall proposal and shook on the deal.
So things were quite far along. But as we know, the deal never closed. The report says a few of Musk’s financial demands kept the two companies from finalizing anything.
In the following months, Tesla’s Model S received the highest rating Consumer Reports had ever bestowed on an automobile – 99 out of 100. It also received the best safety rating of all time from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Sales improved and Tesla pulled itself out of the danger zone.
Google isn’t the only tech company that’s shown major interest in Tesla. Last year, reports emerged that Musk had been having discussions with Apple over a possible acquisition. At the time, Tesla’s market cap sat at an estimated $24 billion.
If someone wanted to buy Tesla today, they’d probably have to fork over roughly $75 billion.
(Above image is Google’s Sergey Brin’s Tesla Model S, turned into a pink batmobile by Googlers around the time of the supposed negotiations – via Nathan Johns, Google+)