Apple is reportedly considering another acquisition, but this one stands out from all the others because it involves McLaren.
According to The Financial Times and The New York Times, Apple is attempting to buy British automaker McLaren - or at the very least, it is discussing a strategic investment. McLaren, which is best known for its Formula One racing team and P1 hybrid car, not only makes a range of supercars but also has a consulting division and a technologies group that supplies parts.
Keep in mind Apple is reportedly developing a car, Project Titan, which is rumoured to be electric and might have autonomous capabilities. The Cupertino, CA-based company recently recruited a former longtime Apple executive, Bob Mansfield, to lead the project, though newer reports claimed Apple has cut many jobs in the division in an attempt to narrow the project's scope.
McLaren is valued between $1.3 and $2 billion. While Apple declined to comment, McLaren has already denied the reports, saying it is not in discussion with Apple "in respect of any potential investment", according to The Verge.
Still, here's why Apple has probably considered buying McLaren.
A McLaren acquisition would give Apple the expertise and experience it needs to quickly develop a car itself, as there's no denying that McLaren has lots of technological and engineering prowess when it comes to manufacturing drivetrains and vehicle control systems.
The company, which sold 1,654 cars in 2015, makes sports cars and has roughly 5,000 employees working across six different divisions that include automative, racing, marketing, and automative supplying (that last bit means it has plenty of experience with supplier-OEM deals, too). Let's also not forget that it has a consulting division that works across several industries to provide R&D.
McLaren has used advanced, premium materials such as carbon composites, aluminum, and carbon fiber in the past. And it's very familiar with electric vehicles (with the most famous example being its P1 hybrid that traveled up to six miles on electric power) and high-performance Formula One race cars, all of which suggests it has the gumption to develop a next-generation car.
Size and convenience
McLaren is small. It's a privately-owned, independent carmaker, so an acquisition is logistically possible for Apple. Plus, it's conceivable that McLaren would continue operating its automotive and racing divisions after an acquisition. Beats, which Apple acquired a couple years ago, still develops and sells headphones, even as Apple works to integrate Beats’ tech into its own stuff.
McLaren's Technology Centre was designed in 2004 by Foster + Partners, the same firm making Apple’s spaceship campus and many Apple stores. This building highlights its surrounding landscape, using water from a lake for energy-efficient cooling purposes. There’s even a wind tunnel for aerodynamic testing. The McLaren Production Centre was also designed by the firm.
Based on its state-of-the-art headquarters, approach to making vehicles, and overall ethos, it's clear that McLaren is very similar to Apple in terms of aesthetics and using breakthrough technology. We're very interested in what the two could do together. One can only hope.