According to reports from both the Financial Times and the New York Times, Apple Inc. has been linked to a £1.5bn deal to purchase British Formula One team owner and supercar maker McLaren Technology Group.

Apple McLaren
McLaren P1 by David Villarreal Fernández, Flickr

Apple and McLaren Reportedly Working On £1.5bn Deal

If this deal is indeed in the works between Apple and the British automaker, it is one that will without a doubt dramatically shake up both the technology and automotive industries. The Cupertino tech giant’s potential interest in McLaren Technology Group is a clear sign of the company’s ambitions in developing both electric and driverless vehicles.

While Apple has reportedly approached the British automaker regarding a complete takeover, according to the Financial Times there is another possibility that the company could make a strategic investment in McLaren.

McLaren was quick to deny any claims that they were in talks with the tech company, and released a statement saying that “We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment.”

However, the British company followed up with a mysteriously statement: “As you would expect, the nature of our business means we regularly have confidential conversations with a wide range of parties, and they need to remain [confidential].”

When questioned regarding the matter, Apple replied that it “does not comment on rumors or speculation.”

Apple Acquiring McLaren Makes Perfect Sense

While everything seems a bit up in the air at this point, it makes a fair amount of sense why Apple would be interested in scooping up McLaren Technology Group.

According to Northern Trust Capital Markets analyst Neil Campling, this acquisition would give the Cupertino company “instant credibility” in the automotive industry: “The attractiveness of McLaren – the designer of very high-end automotive products on and off the race track – to Apple, with its own reputation for design-centricity and technological expertise, is quite obvious. McLaren’s tagline could almost be Apple’s – ‘Designed and Engineered to Win.’”

An acquisition of this level would give Apple a small but significant automaker that has enormous amounts of technological expertise in vehicle control systems, building drivetrains, and navigating complicated supplier-OEM relationships. The automaker also has quite a bit of experience working with advanced materials such as aluminum, carbon fiber, and carbon composites.

McLaren, while a very small automotive firm, is very important, and is known mostly for their production supercars as well as its Formula One team. However, McLaren Technology Group is more than just a supercar manufacturer. The company contains six different divisions including automotive, racing, marketing, and an automotive supplier for race teams and high-end performance cars.

The company is also familiar with producing electric cars, as its P1 hypercar was, in fact, a plug-in hybrid that had the ability to travel more than six miles on electric power alone. While the majority of the company’s expertise lies in building race and high-performance vehicles, its knowledge of such advanced materials and electric drivetrains would certainly be applicable in building a next-generation car – like the one Apple is rumored to be developing.

If Apple did indeed acquire McLaren, it would give the company access to an incredible amount of engineering expertise and experience that would otherwise take years, or even decades, to develop internally. Additionally, Apple would gain access to McLaren’s private development center in England, a location where the company could focus its car development efforts exclusively. Overall, this is incredibly exciting news for both the automotive and technology industries.