Elon Musk Denies He Discussed Apple-Tesla Merger With Tim Cook

(Bloomberg) — Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Friday that he never met with Apple Inc. about a potential takeover and slammed the tech giant’s App Store fees, calling them a “global tax on the internet.”

He was responding to an upcoming book that says Apple CEO Tim Cook called Musk in 2016 about taking over Tesla. The book claims that merger discussions ended when Musk told Cook he’d like to replace him as Apple’s CEO as part of the deal. According to the story — revealed in a Los Angeles Times review of “Power Play: Tesla, Elon Musk, and the Bet of the Century” by Wall Street Journal reporter Tim Higgins — Cook then hung up the phone after uttering an expletive.

“Cook & I have never spoken or written to each other ever,” Musk said on Twitter. “There was a point where I requested to meet with Cook to talk about Apple buying Tesla. There were no conditions of acquisition proposed whatsoever.”

Cook refused the meeting, Musk said. “Tesla was worth about 6% of today’s value,” he said. The statement reiterated remarks from last year, when Musk said Cook refused to take a meeting about acquiring Tesla.

Apple also denied the book’s anecdote and pointed to comments from Cook on a recent New York Times podcast. “You know, I’ve never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he’s built,” Cook said.

Musk followed up with a separate tweet Friday on Apple’s store fees. “Epic is right,” he said, a reference to Epic Games Inc.’s lawsuit with Apple over its commissions.

Epic sued Apple after the Cupertino, California-based company removed the game Fortnite from its store for circumventing in-app-purchase fees. Epic has attacked Apple’s practice of forcing apps to share 15% to 30% of their revenue. A California judge will rule on the suit as early as August.

(Updates with Tim Cook comments, Apple denial, more context on Epic trial in final two paragraphs.)

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Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

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