Peas In a Pod: Are Apple and Tesla Mulling a Deal?

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Over the weekend, the San Francisco Chronicle dropped a bomb on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) fans, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) enthusiasts, and technology and automotive market watchers alike. A source told the publication that Apple acquisitions czar Adrian Perica, formerly of Goldman Sachs renown, met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk in Cupertino, California, last spring. Spokespeople for both companies declined to comment to the San Francisco Chronicle, but the news is making big waves in an ocean already turbulent with speculation.

If it had been anyone else at Apple that Musk had gone to see, the wave of speculation wouldn’t be so intense. Given Apple’s push into high-end infotainment systems (think Ferrari FF, which runs its media on iOS and comes packed with auxiliary iPad minis), a meeting with hardware SVP Dan Riccio, design guru Jony Ive, or even CEO Tim Cook wouldn’t be too surprising.

Tesla’s flagship Model S packs a 17-inch touchscreen in its center console and appeals to exactly the kind of discerning consumer that is already on board with Apple’s premium image. At the very least, a partnership on an infotainment system seems like a viable topic of conversation and worth a clandestine meeting or two. And even if a partnership wasn’t on the table, it wouldn’t be surprising that top tech execs get together for coffee and a friendly conversation about innovation and the future of the market.

But it was Perica — and “probably” Cook, according to the San Francisco Chronicle — who met with Musk. Apple hired Perica, a former mergers and acquisitions banker, in 2009 to handle acquisitions for the enormous tech company.

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