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‘SoftBank and Toyota to invest USD 1bn in Uber’s self-driving business’
Posted on Thursday, 14 March 2019 10:15
Uber Technologies, the US-based ride-hailing platform that is planning its stock market debut for later this year, is in talks with a group of investors to offload a stake in its self-driving unit for roughly USD 1.00 billion in proceeds, according to recent media reports.

The Wall Street Journal was first to cite people familiar with the matter as saying SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund is leading the late-stage discussions, with at least one auto maker, which Reuters and the Financial Times (FT) suggested was Toyota.

Negotiations are for an unknown minority stake, these sources noted, adding a USD 1.00 billion investment would value the business at between USD 5.00 billion and USD 10.00 billion.

For Uber, a deal would help the taxi-alternative provider pitch to investors ahead of its highly-anticipated initial public offering after filing documents confidentially in December.

The company is expecting a valuation of around USD 120.00 billion from the flotation.

Uber is yet to turn a profit and the investment would allow the self-driving programme to gain cash without costing the group hundreds of millions of dollars without generating revenue, Reuters reported.

When asked for comment by the news provider, both the start-up and SoftBank declined; however, a spokesman for Toyota said the company constantly reviews and considers various options for investment but does not have anything to announce at this time.

SoftBank became Uber’s largest shareholder last year when it paid USD 7.70 billion for a 15.0 per cent stake.

The FT noted that the company has been weighing a partial sale of its self-driving division since October following pressure from investors over high-costs.

Uber, according to the paper, spends around USD 500.00 million per year on the business.

For SoftBank, this is not its first move into autonomous cars, as it injected USD 2.25 billion into General Motors’ self-driving unit – Cruise – in May 2018.

Shortly after this, Honda made a further USD 750.00 million investment into the business, with an additional USD 2.00 billion to be provided over a 12-year period as part of a partnership agreement.

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