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Did Apple almost buy Tesla Motors?

Computing giant Apple may have discussed a possible acquisition of Tesla Motors last fall, according to a report. How might Apple give Tesla Motors a boost?

Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters/File
Visitors look at Tesla Motors' Model S P85 at its showroom in Beijing. Tesla Motors stores have more than a hint of Apple about them, Ingram writes, unsurprising since Tesla's stores were the brainchild of former Apple employee George Blankenship.

On Wednesday, Tesla will report its full-year financial results for 2013, a year in which it seems to have sold more than 20,000 Model S electric luxury sedans.

It's an impressive figure for the startup electric automaker, and enough to make you wonder what Tesla could achieve with one of the world's largest companies behind it.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle (via MacRumors), a source close to technology firm Apple suggests the computing giant may already have talked about acquisitions with the Palo Alto-based automaker. (ALSO SEE: Fisker Assets Sold For $149 Million To Wanxiang, Chinese Parts Maker)

The source claims that Adrian Perica, Apple's mergers and acquisitions chief, spoke with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last fall. 

Around this time, some industry analysts were suggesting that Apple should acquire the electric car maker.

Another analyst says the meeting was more likely a way of discussing iOS integration into Tesla's vehicles--though why Apple would send its acquisitions chief for such a meeting is less clear.

Also unclear is whether any Apple-Tesla deal would be a takeover or merely a partnership.

While Apple is among the richest companies on earth, Tesla's stock market flotation has allowed the firm to raise significant capital itself. Sales of the Model S are also going well, and the automaker is yet to fully launch in China, where the market potential is huge. (DON'T MISS: Did You Know There's Now A 'Tesla Lifestyle?' Neither Did We)

Apple backing would provide extra financial security though. Both companies also seem to complement each other, too--strong brand loyalty, innovative products, a user-friendly design and the all-important "want one" factor that spurs sales.

Tesla's stores have more than a hint of Apple about them--unsurprising, since until his departure last year, Tesla's stores were the brainchild of ex-Apple man George Blankenship.

Predictably, both companies have declined to comment on the rumors.

Was the Tesla-Apple meeting last year simply a discussion of future in-car functions? Or is Apple first in line for a potential Tesla takeover? 

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