Apple may have been kicking the tires on Tesla, according to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, which reported that the company's chief of mergers and acquisitions met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last year.
Adrian Perica met with Musk and "probably" Apple CEO Tim Cook at Apple's Cupertino headquarters last spring, according to the report, which cited a source whose identity was concealed to protect business relationships.
"While a megadeal has yet to emerge (for all of its cash, Apple still plays hardball on valuation), such a high-level meeting between the two Silicon Valley giants involving their top deal makers suggests Apple was very much interested in buying the electric car pioneer," the report said.
This isn't the first time an Apple acquisition of Tesla has been suggested. Adnaan Ahmad, an analyst with German investment bank Berenberg, caused a media stir last October when he penned an open letter to Cook and Chairman Arthur Levinson that made a case that acquiring Tesla could give Apple long-term revenue growth that is unavailable from smartphones and tablets.
"I know this is radical and potentially 'transformative' but this would radically alter Apple's growth profile," Ahmad wrote. "In Elon Musk, you could strike up a partnership and obtain a new iconic partner to lead Apple's innovation drive."
Apple already has made inroads with the automobile sector. At WWDC 2013, Apple announced plans to better integrate iOS into car dashboard screens. The company also has a partnership with Ferrari; Apple created an infotainment system for the luxury car maker via its Siri-based Eyes Free voice-command system and two iPad Minis for the use of passengers.
Tesla declined to comment on the report. CNET also contacted Apple for comment and will update this report when we learn more.