Tesla's Latest $218M Acquisition Could Change the EV Industry

Tesla has paid about $218M for an all-stocks acquisition of battery component manufacturer Maxwell.
Jessica Miley

Tesla has acquired an ultracapacitor and battery component manufacturer Maxwell based in California. The 200+ million dollar transaction was announced this morning by the company Maxwell. Maxwell is a well-reputed ultracapacitor manufacturer. 

President of the company, Dr. Franz Fink, commented on the Tesla take-over saying: “We are very excited with today’s announcement that Tesla has agreed to acquire Maxwell. Tesla is a well-respected and world-class innovator that shares a common goal of building a more sustainable future. We believe this transaction is in the best interests of Maxwell stockholders and offers investors the opportunity to participate in Tesla’s mission of accelerating the advent of sustainable transport and energy.” 

Tesla invests in the emerging technology

Tesla paid top-dollar for the all-stock deal. Last week Maxwell’s stock traded at just over $3.00 per share for a valuation of $140 million, Tesla has paid $4.75 per share making the transaction worth over $200 million. 

Maxwell has about 380 employees based in San Diego. Tesla isn’t known for aggressive acquisitions, and the fact they paid a decent price for the company suggests that Musk has faith in Maxwells recent claims of developing ultracapacitors. 

Musk reveals he was headed for an academic life

Musk has always had a deep interest in that particular technology. Ultracapacitors can store and rapidly deliver surges of energy. Musk has spoken about his interest in the technology application in EVs and that they could be a better breakthrough in technology than batteries. 

The SpaceX CEO even went as far to disclose that he was planning to do a Ph.D. at Stanford on the technology but abandoned that plan for the life of a serial entrepreneur.

The majority of the mainstream EV industry has never taken up the idea. Maxwell also develops dry electrodes that it claims to have an energy density of over 300 Wh/kg in current demonstration cells and they see a path to over 500 Wh/kg. 

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Past acquisitions have paid off handsomely 

In the past Tesla has acquired Riviera Tool LLC, a manufacturer of stamping die systems used to form sheet metal parts; SolarCity, a provider of solar energy services to homeowners, businesses, government, and non-profit organizations in; Grohmann Engineering, a firm that makes Tesla’s robots for production, and Perbix, a maker of highly automated manufacturing equipment in November 2017. 

Maxwell shares enjoyed a boost after the announcement while Tesla remained fairly steady. 

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