Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) currently stands as the world’s most valuable automaker by market cap, but the company only commands about 0.8% of the automotive industry’s global market share. The company is on track for further growth, however, and with this momentum, as well as its $560 billion valuation, the idea of Tesla acquiring a legacy automaker has emerged recently.
In an interview with Axel Springer CEO Mathias Doepfner earlier this week, Elon Musk hinted that Tesla is open to the idea of merging with another automaker. The CEO noted that the Silicon Valley-based company would definitely not launch a hostile takeover against a competitor, but if there is a carmaker that thinks it would be a good idea to merge with Tesla, Musk stated that “we’d certainly have that conversation.”
In a recent report, Reuters noted that among the legacy carmakers on the market, no other automaker is a better fit for a Tesla acquisition than Germany-based Daimler, which currently has a market cap of $74 billion. According to the news agency, Daimler is a great match for Tesla because the electric car maker’s customers are aspirational and may be amenable to a luxury marquee.
Explaining further, Reuters noted that other carmakers would present problems for Tesla. BMW, another premium automaker, has serious family ties and will likely be complicated. Acquiring Japanese automakers has also proven to be extremely difficult in the past, and brands like Lamborghini, which Volkswagen may soon offload, are simply too niche.
With this in mind, Daimler, whose shares have trailed the benchmark STOXX Europe 600 Auto index for the past five years, seems like a good fit for a potential acquisition. This is especially notable considering that Daimler itself was an early investor in Tesla, having supported the then-budding Silicon Valley-based automaker during the days of the original Roadster.
The news agency added that acquiring Daimler would actually be pretty easy for Tesla. This is because under US stock-exchange rules, Tesla would require shareholder approval if it sought to increase its outstanding shares by over 20%. Given that the electric car maker has a market cap of about $560 billion today, Tesla could, at least in theory, purchase a company worth $100 billion without Elon Musk asking for permission.
What would be the benefits of a Daimler acquisition for Tesla? Reuters stated that the automaker has the potential to boost Tesla’s worldwide car output by nearly four times, which could allow the EV maker to push its electric offensive in China and Europe even further. Ultimately, the news agency noted that Daimler may very well become Elon Musk’s Time Warner, which was acquired by AOL 20 years ago.
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