Uber’s Self-Driving Car Unit In Talks To Raise At Least $1 Billion

Uber’s self-driving vehicle unit is in talks with investors about raising $1 billion or higher in an effort to position itself for an initial public offering.

The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the late-stage talks, reported SoftBank is part of the investor group that wants to invest in the self-driving vehicle unit.

Under the terms, SoftBank’s Vision Fund, along with investors including an automaker that wasn’t named, will get a minority stake in the unit at a valuation of $5 billion to $10 billion. Negotiations are ongoing and could fail, but if a deal is inked it should happen in April, noted the report.  If Uber is able to raise the money it would be welcome, given the ride-hailing company needs funding for its self-driving efforts. The paper noted it would reduce its need for funding in the future and still enable it to be in control of the business. The Wall Street Journal noted that in 2017 Uber poured $750 million into the unit. Last year it was forced to make cuts.

Having the backing of an automobile company for the self-driving unit would also help Uber with technology development. Uber is aiming to make self-driving taxis and could use help reaching that goal. Uber is going up against Alphabet and General Motors among others in the self-driving market.  With Uber gearing up for an IPO in late Spring or early summer, investors have been urging it to do something with the self-driving vehicle unit. Despite the expenses, Uber’s Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said he backs the unit.

As for its IPO, the WSJ reported that next week Uber will launch the formal process — in which it could be valued at $120 billion — by holding a meeting to go over the planned IPO with bankers and lawyers. The company is also slated to hold an analyst meeting next week in which the company will tell its story to Wall Street.



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