McLaren, the maker of high-end supercars, has flatly denied reports that it is in talks to be taken over by Apple.
The claims were made in a report in the Financial Times on Wednesday. But the ultra-high-end car marker, connected to the successful Formula 1 racing team and which sold just 1,654 vehicles last year, denied any suggestion that the talks were taking place.
"We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment," said the company in response to press questions.
Apple, meanwhile, maintained its usual position of not commenting on what the company describes as "speculation".
The FT is adamant that the story is true, despite McLaren's denials. Tim Bradshaw, the journalist who broke the story, said on Twitter: "We stand by our story despite McLaren's statement."
Bradshaw claimed that the FT was briefed by three people, who said that the negotiations started "several months ago".
An acquisition of a car company like McLaren would probably pitch Apple against Tesla in the luxury market.
McLaren's cars currently sell for around £1m, but the firm would bring expertise in the use of lightweight alloys, carbon fibre and aluminium in car making that would help to maximise the range of an electric vehicle, in particular, as well as knowledge about building upmarket cars.
Any deal would also demonstrate that Apple remains keen on expanding into vehicle development as the car market moves to electric vehicles and self-driving software. It remains to be seen, however, when that predicted revolution in the market will occur.
Nevertheless, McLaren is valued at between £1bn and £1.5bn and a purchase would represent a cost-effective way to buy car design and production knowledge, which Apple's resources could apply to lower cost cars.
Apple is known to be interested in self-driving cars, but is rumoured to be struggling to design a definitive Apple car.
The latest round-up at MacRumors suggests that Apple has been working on an electric car to be launched in 2020 at the earliest. The company's Project Titan is also working on an autonomous driving system as part of the same initiative.
Apple reportedly has "hundreds" of employees working on vehicle development, and early prototypes resemble a mini-van, according to sources. The abrupt departure of project director Steve Zadesky had indicated that Apple's vehicle development plans weren't going smoothly.
The company reportedly "rebooted" its vehicle initiatives earlier this month with the lay-off of a number of employees and the decision to focus on autonomous driving systems rather than building vehicles.
Apple also brought in Dan Dodge, who retired from BlackBerry last month, for his expertise with QNX, the embedded operating system widely used in the motor industry.
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