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Tesla has yet to close battery company acquisition, extends the deadline

Tesla hasn’t gone into details about why it wants to acquire battery technology company Maxwell, but almost 2 months after announcing the acquisition, the deal has yet to close and it is now extending the deadline.

Last month, Tesla announced the acquisition of the San Diego-based ultracapacitor and battery company Maxwell for over $200 million in stock.

We later learned that Tesla and Maxwell had discussions for years over potential opportunities between the two companies, but Tesla became serious about acquiring them in December 2018.

The two companies negotiated over the price of the acquisition months before agreeing, but even then some investors weren’t happy and they sued to block the transaction.

Today, Tesla filed an amendment to their tender offer in order to push the deadline for closing the offer to April 10:

“On March 28, 2019, Tesla announced that it has extended the expiration of its previously announced offer to acquire each outstanding share of common stock of Maxwell Technologies, Inc. to 11:59 p.m., Eastern time, at the end of April 10, 2019, unless extended further or terminated in accordance with the merger agreement.”

Tesla didn’t explain the hold up with the transaction, but it first expected that the deal could actually close in the second quarter.

Maxwell is best-known as an ultracapacitor manufacturer and it has also recently been talking about a dry electrode technology for batteries.

We suspect that Tesla was actually more interested in their new dry electrode technology to use in Li-ion battery cells.

In a paper published last year, Maxwell’s lead chemists and battery scientists described their coating technology:

“Unlike conventional slurry cast wet coated electrode, Maxwell’s DBE offers significantly high loading and produces a thick electrode that allows for high energy density cells without compromising physical properties and electrochemical performance. Maxwell’s DBE exhibits better discharge rate capability than those of wet coated electrode. Maxwell has demonstrated scalability by producing robust self supporting dry coated electrode film in roll form with excellent long-term electrochemical cycle performance, and established large pouch cell prototypes in greater than 10Ah format.”

Maxwell claims that its electrode enables an energy density of over 300 Wh/kg in current demonstration cells and they see a path to over 500 Wh/kg.

They also demonstrate close to 90% capacity retention after almost 1,500 cycles and their cells maintain their capacity at higher discharge rate much better than the same cells without their dry electrode.

Tesla could be looking to acquire the company in order to implement this technology into their own batteries, but they would need to complete the transaction.

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