Date
17 October 2018
A self-driving GM Bolt EV is displayed during a media event in San Francisco in November last year. The Cruise autonomous vehicle unit has now drawn major investment from Softbank. Photo: Reuters
A self-driving GM Bolt EV is displayed during a media event in San Francisco in November last year. The Cruise autonomous vehicle unit has now drawn major investment from Softbank. Photo: Reuters

SoftBank to invest US$2.25 bln in GM autonomous vehicle unit

Japan’s SoftBank Group will invest US$2.25 billion in General Motors’ autonomous vehicle unit Cruise, the companies said on Thursday, a deal which sent GM shares up nearly 13 percent.

The investment from SoftBank’s Vision Fund represents one of the largest investments to date in self-driving technology, Reuters reports.

The partnership values Cruise at US$11.5 billion, marking a triumph for GM, which was criticized for overpaying an estimated US$1 billion for the startup two years ago, the report noted.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra said the automaker might explore “other opportunities” with some of the companies that SoftBank has funded, including Uber, China’s Didi, India’s Ola and Southeast Asia’s Grab.

SoftBank Vision Fund will own a 19.6-percent stake in GM Cruise once the transaction is completed, and will hold one of six seats on the company’s board.

Its investment will be held in a preferred security that can be converted to GM common stock after seven years.

SoftBank will initially invest US$900 million and a further US$1.35 billion when Cruise vehicles are ready for commercial deployment.

GM will invest an additional US$1.1 billion in the Cruise unit after the deal closes, according to the report.

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