Apple approaches F1 team owner McLaren over possible buyout - report

Team said it was "not in discussion" with the tech giant

McLaren, Formula 1, Fernando Alonso

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso of Spain steers his car during the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix on the Marina Bay City Circuit in Singapore, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)

Apple has reportedly approached Formula One team owner McLaren about an investment or potential takeover.

The Financial Times said the loss-making high performance sports car maker could be valued at between €1.17bn and £1.75bn.

McLaren said it was "not in discussion" with the tech giant but that it regularly held "confidential conversations with a wide range of parties".

The statement did not deny that there had been an approach.

A deal could give Apple access to key automotive technology amid reports that it is working on a self-driving car.

It comes a couple of weeks after US firm Liberty Media agreed to buy Formula One in a €6.99bn deal.

Jasper Lawler, market analyst at CMC Markets, said: "Owning McLaren would be Apple waving a big flag over its intention to enter the car industry.

"As a high-end technology company, Apple appears to want to be at the high, cutting-edge end of the car industry too."

Apple has hired dozens of experts from the sector over the past year and is exploring making charging stations for electric cars.

The California-based group also invested $1bn (€1.17bn) in Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing earlier this year.

Two years ago it paid $3bn (€2.68bn) for rapper Dr Dre's headphone and music streaming company Beats Electronics.

Following the report that it had approached McLaren, Apple said it "does not comment on rumours or speculation".

The tech company's stock market value has recently been buoyed by promising sales of its latest iPhone 7 handset.

Apple has also been at been at the centre of controversy over its tax arrangements with the European Commission ordering it to pay €13bn (£11bn) in back taxes to Ireland.

A McLaren spokesman said: "We can confirm that McLaren is not in discussion with Apple in respect of any potential investment.

"As you would expect, the nature of our brand means we regularly have confidential conversations with a wide range of parties, but we keep them confidential."