Tesla’s recent stock price graph is a tough one to swallow—even for die-hard fans. Over the past four trading weeks, the electric carmaker’s shares have plunged more than 25 percent to a five-year low at $190 per share as of Friday.
Things could get a lot worse in the next 12 months. If its stock falls another 50 percent to below $100, Tesla could be acquired by a larger company, forcing its unruly CEO Elon Musk to work for someone else for the first time.
At least that’s the scenario painted by Scott Galloway, a New York University marketing professor known for his blunt but often on-point criticism of today’s hottest tech companies. When asked what the future holds for the embattled electric carmaker in an interview with Yahoo Finance this week, Galloway made a bold prediction that “this is the year Tesla comes undone.”
“This company could get cut in half,” Galloway said, pointing to the fact that Tesla’s current stock price is only half what it was a year ago. “And if you didn’t know it had been cut in half, you would look at it and go, ‘For an automobile company, it’s overvalued.’”
Besides Tesla’s obvious problems such as disappointing first-quarter deliveries and falling market demand, Galloway, a Tesla Model X owner, said he was deeply troubled by the company’s “catastrophic senior level turnover,” which he called the “weakest board in America,” as well as a CEO who has “absolutely no control of his emotions.”
If stock keeps diving to below $100, like he predicts, Tesla could eventually draw a few interested buyers. “I think Tesla goes below $100 a share within 12 months,” Galloway said. “And I do think it [will get] acquired, because there’s real brand value there. You could see a lot of different people pulling out their pencils and saying at a certain point, at what point does Tesla become a really interesting arrow in their quiver?”
Apple will be a frontrunner when a buyout is on the table, Galloway added, because it’s “the premiere organization in the world for creating tech hardware, and you would argue that Tesla [products] are premiere tech hardware. So, from a product standpoint, it makes sense.”
In fact, Apple has reportedly mulled over projects in the self-driving-car world for years. It even expressed a specific interest in buying out Tesla for $230 a share in 2013, Roth Capital Partners analyst Craig Irwin told CNBC earlier this week.
Still, some Wall Street analysts think this possibility is a joke. According to a private talk between Morgan Stanley and its institutional investor clients on Wednesday, a Tesla acquisition by a tech giant like Apple or Amazon is unlikely, Yahoo Finance reports.