Tesla bull Cathie Wood says Apple should have bought the EV pioneer, but “we’re glad they didn’t”

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The closely watched finance manager Cathie Wood told CNBC on Wednesday that Apple could have owned the driverless vehicle market by buying Tesla when it was given the chance during the troubled start of electric vehicle maker Model 3.

“We have been monitoring Apple very closely for years. Because what is an autonomous vehicle? It’s the ultimate mobile device, ”she said in an in-depth“ Squawk Box ”interview in which she also talked about her Ark Invest strategies, the returns she expects over the long term, and buying Zoom after the recent decline.

Apple shares hit all-time highs last Friday and then again on Monday – they rose solidly above $ 2.5 trillion in market value – following last week’s Bloomberg report on the tech giant’s acceleration in efforts to get a self-driving vehicle into the market bring. Apple was not immediately available to respond to CNBC’s request for comment on its autonomous ambitions. Tesla was also not immediately available to comment on Wood’s comments.

“It’s very hard work – and with all the turnover in management, we’d be surprised if they could do it that quickly,” said Wood, referring to a Bloomberg report in June on the departure of Apple’s three top executives. In 2018, Apple lured Doug Field, then Tesla’s senior vice president of engineering, back to the company he had previously worked for. Apple has also hired countless other former Tesla employees.

Wood – a longtime Tesla Uber bull and shareholder and supporter of CEO Elon Musk – told CNBC, “This should have been Apple’s market. Apple should have bought Tesla when given the opportunity. We’re glad they didn’t. “.”

Musk revealed in a tweet in December 2020 that he had contacted Apple CEO Tim Cook “in the darkest days for the Model 3 program” about the possibility of selling Tesla “(for 1/10 of our current value)”. Musk said Cook refused to attend the meeting.

The first Model 3s, a cheaper EV sedan for mass-market car buyers, shipped in 2017 after increasing production to meet demand was problematic. In 2018, Musk tweeted that the auto business was “Hell” and it was him Sleep in the factory to try to solve the problems.

Today, Tesla joined the $ 1 trillion market cap club, and Musk, the EV company’s largest shareholder, has sold billions of its stock holdings.

Wood told CNBC that she saw “nothing wrong” with Musk selling stocks, taking profits and paying billions of dollars in tax bills related to stock option subsidies.

Official filings late Tuesday indicated that Musk exercised options to buy 2.15 million Tesla shares and sold 934,091 shares valued at just over $ 1 billion. Since his Twitter poll on November 6thWhen asked to sell shares, Musk dumped 9.2 million shares, valued at $ 9.9 billion.

– Reuters contributed to this report.