Bloomberg journalists are speculating that Google might be interested in buying electric car maker Tesla Motors now that it has repaid its DOE loan, lifting restrictions on a potential sale. Would that make sense?
Well, Google has never restricted itself to only one area of operations, so it wouldn't be a first for them. While they're known for internet search, Gmail, Youtube, Android, etc, they've also invested hundreds of millions in clean energy, they're developing self-driving cars, and they are constantly buying other companies (according to this list, they've bought 127 companies), including the recent acquisition of Makani power, a kite-wind-power startup.
But Tesla currently has a market capitalization of close to $12 billion, so that would be a big acquisition even for Google. They've got more than enough cash, but a lot of it is overseas.The real question is: Would Elon Musk want to sell, and would Google want to buy? That's harder to know. Musk did say that he wants to stay at Tesla at least until they have an affordable, mass-market EV out, which could take 4-5 years. But if Musk and Google took Tesla private together, Musk could stay CEO, retain his stake in the company, and keep running it without the short-term pressures of Wall Street. That could be attractive to the notoriously long-term visionary... but I doubt he'd do it. He recently bought more shares, and must be confident the company will be worth a lot more by the time the next model comes out (and by then, they might be too big to swallow even for Google). By staying an independent public company, he keeps more control, and can always partner with Google on things like self-driving tech.
Bottom line: I doubt such a deal would happen. But it's fun to speculate about what Tesla could do with Google's resources behind it.
Here's the Bloomberg video: