New York: Apple Inc. has approached McLaren Technology Group, the UK builder of supercars, about a potential acquisition, the Financial Times reported Wednesday citing three unidentified people briefed on the talks.
Apple, which has been working on a self-driving electric car for more than two years, is considering a full takeover of McLaren or a strategic investment, the FT reported, noting that the talks started several months ago. Apple is interested in McLaren for its technology, engineering prowess and patent portfolio, the newspaper said, citing the people briefed on the talks. However, those people cautioned that it was unclear if a deal would go ahead following a recent shift in Apple’s car strategy.
The maker of the iPhone has never publicly acknowledged that it’s pursuing an automobile platform of any kind but has hired a slew of automotive engineers from the likes of Tesla Motors Inc. and Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG. Talks with BMW AG and Daimler about prospective partnerships broke down last year over disagreements on who would own the data generated by the vehicles, Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper reported earlier this year.
The deal with McLaren may not go through because of Apple’s recent shift to prioritizing self-driving software instead of developing a car of their own, the Financial Times said, citing sources.
The shift to software has happened over the last several months as veteran Apple executive Bob Mansfield took over leadership of the car unit, dubbed Project Titan, a person familiar with the plan told Bloomberg in July. Apple at that point had not abandoned efforts to design its own vehicle, and could still partner with or acquire an established carmaker.
McLaren was likely to be valued at between £1 billion and £1.5 billion ($1.3 billion and $1.95 billion) the paper said. That would make it Apple’s biggest acquisition since the $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics, the audio group founded by Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine, in 2014.
A spokesman for Apple and representatives of McLaren didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Bloomberg