After much speculation, it has come to light that Apple did propose to bid on Tesla back in 2013 for $240 a share, higher than the sub-$200 a share Tesla is trading at today, according to CNBC. Analyst Craig Irwin told CNBC that there was a serious bid from Apple and says that multiple credible sources have told him so.
Tesla is down more than 46% from its high in August 2018 when CEO Musk tweeted that he had funding secured to take Tesla private at $420 a share via a Saudi Soverign Wealth Fund, but that tweet turned out to be false, Tesla reversed course, and got Musk and Tesla in trouble with the SEC and further cost Musk the Chairmanship of the company.
Now that Tesla stock is trading in the sub-$200 range, it becomes a substantially more attractive acquisition target, not only for Apple, but for other companies as well. The question remains what to do with Tesla's CEO Elon Musk. Apple's insistence on Musk's departure was apparently what killed the deal back in 2013.
Reports are that Apple is working on its own car technology, but acquiring Tesla would substantially boost their progress.