Tesla Inc. has agreed to acquire battery-technology company Maxwell Technologies Inc. for about $218 million in stock, as Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk adds expertise in capacitors that could speed up electric-car charging.
The purchase price of $4.75 a share, announced by San Diego-based Maxwell on Monday, amounts to about a 55% premium to Maxwell’s Feb. 1 closing price. Tesla is always looking for potential acquisitions that support its mission, a spokesman said.
The small acquisition will bring Tesla a short-term energy storage technology that Musk has called a key to the future of electric cars. Maxwell’s lithium-ion capacitors may assist with faster charging capability, said Theo O’Neill, an analyst at Ascendiant Capital Markets.
Maxwell “has struggled for decades to find a way into the automotive market,” O’Neill said in an email. Noting that the company’s shares traded above $40 in 1999 and closed a little over $3 on Friday, he called Monday’s announcement “a great deal for long-suffering Maxwell shareholders.”
Tesla shares dropped as much as 3.3% on Monday morning before recovering; they ended the day up 68 cents, or 0.2%, at $312.89. Maxwell shares surged $1.52, or 49.5% — their biggest one-day jump ever — to $4.59, their highest closing price since July 31.
Tesla’s decision to pay for the small deal in stock underscores the company’s need to conserve cash. The automaker has about $3.7 billion on its balance sheet and has $920 million in convertible bonds that mature March 1.