UPDATE: McLaren has denied the reports it is in talks with Apple.
Original story and analysis continues below
Apple wants to buy out McLaren Technology Group, the British supercar giant and owner of the eponymous Formula One team, apparently.
The Financial Times reports that Apple has approached McLaren with a view towards a “full takeover” of, or the strategic investment in, the car company, citing three people “briefed on the negotiations”.
The talks are said to have been ongoing for several months, and that the takeover may be in a bid to “accelerate Apple’s secretive automotive project”.
Sources suggest that McLaren is valued at between £1 billion and £1.5 billion, but that a deal has not yet been agreed. It would be the biggest takeover since Apple’s Beats purchase in 2014.
Comment: McLaren and Apple are a good fit
Andy Vandervell, Deputy Editor
Reports earlier this year that Apple was interested in buying Formula 1 seemed far fetched, but this latest Financial Times report linking it with McLaren makes more sense and perhaps explains the previous rumours.
The McLaren Technology Group is the parent company of three valuable companies: McLaren Racing, McLaren Automotive and McLaren Applied Technologies. It’s the latter two that are likely of most interest to Apple, though the expertise and marketing potential derived from McLaren’s F1 team can’t be discounted.
Of course, instantly one thinks about Apple’s not very secret car project. Apple could certainly use the knowledge of McLaren in producing a car, but there are other benefits to an Apple and McLaren marriage.
McLaren is an expert in using exotic materials like aluminium and carbon fibre, knowledge which Apple could use in all sorts of projects, be it the ‘Apple Car’ or future iPhones.
McLaren’s also famous for what’s known as an F1-style ‘carbon tub’ for its road going cars. It was one of the first to adopt this approach in road cars, which helps make its cars stronger and lighter. I could easily see Apple wanting to apply this approach to the Apple Car.
The two companies are good cultural fits, too. Both have strong luxury brand identities and a reputation for pursuing excellence.
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