Elon Musk almost sold Tesla to Google for what would have been a huge loss

Sales surged just in time.

  • Elon Musk almost sold Tesla to Google in 2013
  • The deal was for just $11 billion
  • Tesla is now estimated to be worth $580.01 billion

Published on Feb 7, 2024 at 5:41PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Feb 7, 2024 at 11:09PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Alessandro Renesis

In what is sure to go down in business history as a near miss, Elon Musk almost sold Tesla to Google for just $11 billion in 2013.

However, he called off the deal when sales figures surged and he “no longer needed a savior” per sources.

It seems sales surged at just the right time to avoid him letting go of the EV behemoth, which is now worth $580.01 billion.

READ MORE! Cybertruck hit with its first recall

The near miss is detailed in biography: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance.

It seems Tesla Inc. came close to bankruptcy in 2013.

This precarious position almost led him to enter an agreement that could have altered the course of his career – and the entire automotive industry.

At the time, Tesla was already known for being innovative in the EV market.

However, CEO Elon Musk faced significant production issues.

Problems included bugs in the tech of the EVs, leading to sales falling off a cliff.

The Tesla Model S was first introduced in 2012.

Despite being a luxe EV proposition, it lacked parking sensors, radar-assisted cruise control and door handles that wouldn’t extend.

Aesthetic flaws also damaged the reputation of the business in its beginnings and its ability to convert preorders into sales.

Executive cover-ups meant Elon Musk didn’t have the full picture – leading to both firings and promotions within the ranks and externally.

Jerome Guile of Daimler was brought in to improve Tesla’s repair centers.

Back to 2013 and Elon Musk was faced with the reality that Tesla only had a fortnight of operating cash remaining.

Elon Musk tuned to friend and Google co-founder, Larry Page for advice.

He floated the idea that Google purchase Tesla for $6 billion, with $5 billion more for factory expansions.

Stipulations included Google not dismantling the company and Musk himself remaining in charge for eight years.

That would allow him to oversee a third-generation car.

Vance’s biography states that a verbal agreement was reached.

Page reportedly verbally agreed to the deal, according to the biography.

However, as the deal moved forward, so too did Tesla’s circumstances.

A well-timed spike in car sales allowed Tesla to resume production just in time for them to post a first quarterly profit of $11 million.

Shares prices surged as a result and the financial 180 allowed Elon Musk to repay what he owed and swerve bankruptcy by a hair’s breadth.

Elon Musk is, of course, now one of the richest men in the world despite business gambles sometimes leading to losses.

Talks of the sale to Google ended immediately as Vance said Tesla “no longer needed a savior” as they expanded into Europe, the UK and Australia.

It would eventually lead to the success of the already iconic Cybertruck and the yet-to-be-revealed low-cost Tesla.

After missing out on acquiring Elon Musk’s business, Google still invested in autonomous-driving tech.

This eventually led to Waymo, the self-driving car project.

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