Tesla (TSLA) At Record High on Apple Acquisition Speculation

Only couple of months ago $100 was considered by some to be too high a price to pay for Tesla Motors (TSLA) stock. Today that seems like a bargain. Tuesday afternoon TSLA closed at $203.70, the highest ever closing price for the maker of Model S sedans. The Palo Alto, California-based company’s shares have jumped more than 450 percent in the past 12 months.

TSLA’s last pps spike is being attributed to an article over the weekend by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Thomas Lee and David Baker noting that Apple’s Adrian Perica, a former Goldman Sachs (GS) investment banker who heads Apple’s mergers and acquisitions team, met with Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk in Cupertino last year “around the same time analysts suggested Apple (AAPL) acquire the electric car giant.”

While some have speculated that Apple might acquire Tesla, Peter Misek, a senior tech analyst at Jefferies (JEF), says that there’s “zero chance” of that happening.

“I would put zero chance of a merger,” Misek said on CNBC. “But I would put a lot of chance on collaboration…[Steve Job’s] departure has left a big gaping hole even now with all the talent they have at Apple, so they would certainly look to collaborations and Musk certainly fits that bill.”

Misek also said that the bigger issue for Apple shareholders is that “they get into a new category, whether it’s the iWatch, whether it’s more in-vehicle entertainment, whether it’s updating the Apple TV set-top box…Investors are now hungry to see Apple get into a new category to try and restart growth.”

It’s worth noting that while Misek sees a merger between the two co.’s as highly improbable, Elon Musk, who is also Tesla’s biggest shareholder, told Bloomberg in a May 2013 interview [via Bberg] that  “he had no plans to step away from the company for “several years” and that an acquisition by another carmaker wasn’t likely. Still, being acquired is “one of the possible outcomes,” Musk said, adding that a potential buyer would have to have a big cash position. While he declined to speculate on possible buyers, he acknowledged that Apple was a company with a lot of cash.”

TSLA’S Tuesday closing pps left the company with a market cap of $24.97 billion, about $1.1 million for each of the 22,450 Model S cars it sold in FY 2013.

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