Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

The recent state of tumult for CEO Elon Musk and Tesla is spurring fresh chatter about an idea that has been rattling around for a long time.

The big question: Should Apple buy Tesla, or at least acquire a major stake? After all, combining the pioneering companies has a certain appeal, given that Apple has an auto initiative and deep pockets, and Tesla has key electric vehicle tech, vision and expertise.

What they're saying:

Loup Ventures' Gene Munster revived the idea of a major equity investment, if only to basically knock it down, in this blog post Monday. If Tesla becomes profitable, which he expects, a merger is "nothing more than a fairy tale." But, he adds:

"If we’re wrong, and Tesla fails to reach profitability in the next year, Apple gains the upper hand and becomes the most likely investor or buyer."

Fortune's Kevin Kelleher, even before Munster's post, explored the topic, noting at one point:

"Ross Gerber, CEO of Gerber Kawasaki, an investment management that owns Tesla shares, said on CNBC that Tesla’s drop in market value could be [Apple CEO] 'Tim Cook’s gift of all gifts.'"

Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva largely agrees with Munster. She tells me:

"Apple would definitely benefit from Tesla's car expertise, which is something it seems to really need given the slow movement on its car project that's had to reconfigure more than once."
"At the same time, Apple could help Tesla as far as quality standards, production, operations, which Tesla lacks despite its great visions and similar values such as design."
"But I really don't foresee Apple going along with Tesla CEO Elon Musk's unpredictable personality and behavior without having a say over the company (or having to constantly battle with him over every decision) and Musk is never leaving Tesla (at least not on his own accord)."

Our thought bubble: It's all a long shot. But one reason it's coming up again is that Tesla's latest problems — the aborted take-private plan, Musk's erratic behavior, the stock price fall — are raising fresh doubts about the long-term viability of Tesla as a stand-alone company.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
57 mins ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.