Tesla bull Cathie Wood says Apple should’ve bought the EV pioneer, but ‘we’re happy they didn’t’

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Closely-watched money manager Kathy Wood told CNBC on Wednesday that Apple could own the driverless vehicle market by buying Tesla if given the opportunity during the electric vehicle maker’s troubled Model 3 ramp-up.

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“We’ve been watching Apple very carefully for years. Because what is an autonomous vehicle? It’s the ultimate mobile device,” she said in an extensive “Squawk Box” interview, during which she also talked about her Arc investment strategies. Of. , she expects long-term returns, and has been buying Zoom on the recent decline.

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Apple shares hit an all-time high last Friday and again on Monday — soaring solidly above $2.5 trillion in market value — following Last week’s Businesshala report About the tech giant accelerating efforts to launch a self-driving vehicle. Apple was not immediately available to respond to CNBC’s request for comment about its autonomous ambitions. Tesla was not immediately available to comment on Wood’s comments.

“It’s a very tough job — and as with all management businesses, we’d be surprised if they’re able to pull it off quickly,” Wood said, referring to a Businesshala reports in June About the departure of three top managers to the autonomous unit of Apple. In 2018, Apple hired Doug Field, then Tesla’s senior VP of engineering, back to the company where he previously worked. Apple also hired other former Tesla employees.

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Wood — a longtime Tesla uber-bull and a believer in shareholder and CEO Elon Musk — told CNBC, “It should have been Apple’s market. Apple should have bought Tesla, really when they were given the opportunity.” We’re glad they didn’t.”

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

The first Model 3s, a less expensive EV sedan aimed at mass-market car buyers, was delivered in 2017 as increasing production to meet demand was problematic. In 2018, Musk tweeted that the car business was “hell” and that sleeping in the factory To try to solve problems.

Fast forward to today, Tesla has joined the $1 trillion market cap club, and Musk, the largest shareholder in the EV company, is selling billions of dollars of his stock holdings.

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

regulatory filing Late Tuesday showed Musk exercised his options to buy 2.15 million shares of Tesla and sold 934,091 shares for just over $1 billion. Since then Twitter poll on November 6thAsked if he should sell the stock, Musk has unloaded 9.2 million shares worth $9.9 billion.

— Reuters

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