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Musk approached Apple to buy Tesla during 'darkest days'

Elon Musk tweeted Tuesday he approached Tim Cook and Apple about buying the EV maker in its 'darkest days.' Yahoo Finance digs into the company's valuation and why that may or may not have been a mistake.

Video Transcript

JULIA LA ROCHE: Welcome back to "Yahoo Finance Live," and I'm pleased to bring in our friend and colleague Dan Howley, Tech Editor at Yahoo Finance. And, Dan, I was reading your latest. A bit of a surprising headline here. Elon Musk says Tim Cook refused to meet with him about Apple buying Tesla. What's the story here?

DAN HOWLEY: Yeah, this was a tweet that-- obviously a tweet because it's Elon Musk, but he sent it out earlier this afternoon around 3:45, and basically he says-- well, I'll just read you his tweet. He says, "During the darkest days of the Model 3 program, I reached out to Tim Cook to discuss the possibility of Apple acquiring Tesla for 1/10 of our current value. He refused to take the meeting."

Now currently we have Tesla sitting at a market value of $606 billion. That would have been about $60 billion for Apple to have acquired Tesla. And this comes after a report from Reuters saying that Apple was back on working its-- working on its own vehicle. There have been reports since as far back as 2017, 2016, 2014 that Apple was working on a vehicle on its own. Those kind of petered out, and it kind of came to that Apple was working on software instead of its own car.

But it appears that it now is once again working on its own vehicle. It would be an EV, and naturally it would compete with Tesla.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Dan, you know, Musk is a braggart in a lot of ways. How much of this do you take seriously, and what might be going through Tim Cook's mind with this news about the Apple car coming?

DAN HOWLEY: Well, it's interesting because it's not the first time we've heard something like this, right? A few years ago, Craig Irwin had said that Apple had sought to acquire Tesla in 2013 for $240 a share. So it's not as though the two companies haven't flirted with this idea before, but this was at the point where Tesla was probably around the 2018 time frame during that kind of production hell that they were going through when they were working on ramping up the Model 3 production.

And, you know, you would look at a company like Tesla at that time where if the factory wasn't up and running properly to get the scale that they needed to get the Model 3 on the market, Elon Musk had said that they were single-digit weeks away from completely going under. So you would understand why Apple wouldn't have gone forward with a deal along those lines.

But, you know, as you say, Elon Musk does say some very, you know, braggadocios things on Twitter, some that get him in a lot of trouble. You know, remember that 420 tweet that he had sent out?

So, I mean, it remains to be seen whether or not this is accurate. We reached out to Apple for comment. But, you know, if Elon Musk is saying that this is something that went through, it very well may have gone through.

ADAM SHAPIRO: All right, Dan Howley with the latest from Elon Musk. We appreciate that. We are, of course, keeping our eyes on what's going to happen with Apple and the Apple car. Dan, all the best to you for the rest of the evening.