Tesla Motors is profitable, but in early 2013 the company was facing a potential collapse and chief executive Elon Musk started searching for a way to maintain the electric car firm. Google was the answer, according to a new book on Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance, offering Musk £7 billion for the failing automotive company.
Musk got in touch with Google’s chief executive Larry Page, who managed to wrangle up a contract for Musk to sign in 2013. It came with a few concessions on Google’s side, like allowing Musk to run the business, keeping it separate from Google and letting Musk get to stage three of the manufacturing process.
Even though Page seemed confident in the acquisition, Musk started stalling and a few months later Tesla announced a surprising profit. Stocks shot up over the next month and Tesla went on to launch what many call the best car of 2014, the Model S.
Tesla Motors is now worth £17.4 billion and Musk is planning to launch a home battery pack and Model X later this year. If Google had pushed harder for the sale to go through, it might have been a great acquisition for the search giant, although we don’t know how committed Musk would have been in that situation.
It was not the first time Musk had his back against the wall when it comes to Tesla. He ran SpaceX, Tesla and Solar City on a very thin line of profit for the first few years, before finally seeing government contracts from NASA and sales of Roadster and Model S cars.
Larry Page has always held Musk in high regard, stating he would happily give all of his money to Musk’s cause rather than charity. Page claims that Musk would be able to do more to help the world than the charities currently in place to tackle problems.
This friendship recently cropped up in a $1 billion (£670 million) investment in SpaceX from Google, potentially to get coverage of its services on the low-orbit satellite constellation SpaceX is planning to launch soon.
Musk is one of the most renowned innovators in the 21st century, but he was very close to selling another company to a massive corporate company. He co-founded PayPal in 1998, but sold it to eBay 2003 - if Musk had kept the company in his own hands we might see a completely different payments service, expanding into banks and business.