Uber sells autonomous driving unit ATG to Aurora at $4b

REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

Uber Technologies Inc is selling its autonomous driving unit, Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), to selfdriving car startup Aurora, the companies said on Monday, in a move that would accelerate the ride-sharing company’s goal to achieve profitability.

The equity deal valued the ATG at $4 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. This marks a major drop in valuation for ATG, as it raised $1 billion from a consortium of investors including Toyota Motor Corp and SoftBank Group Corp at a valuation of $7.25 billion last year.

Following the sale announced on Monday, Uber is also investing $400 million in Aurora, which values Aurora at $10 billion, the people added. Uber will hold about 26% ownership interest in Aurora on a fully diluted basis, the company said in a filing.

Aurora, which is working to develop selfdriving trucks, cars and delivery vehicles, will collaborate with Uber to launch selfdriving vehicles on its ride-hailing and food delivery network. Uber is also working on building out its freight logistics platform but is not operating its own trucks at present.

The sale will accelerate Uber‘s goal to achieve profitability on an adjusted basis by the end of 2021, Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi told Reuters in an interview. “This essentially advances our path to profitability,” he said.

Khosrowshahi, who will take a seat on Aurora‘s board, said Uber‘s profitability was not the leading factor in the deal.

But Uber has been seeking options for its autonomous vehicle division, a cash-burn machine, including more outside investment, as Khosrowshahi refocused on core businesses including ride-hailing and food delivery since the pandemic hit.

Aurora is among dozens of startups, automakers and large technology companies working on selfdriving car systems, eager to capitalize on a sea change in the transportation industry. It was last valued at over $3 billion in September 2019, according to PitchBook data.

The Palo Alto, California-based startup, which is already testing vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pittsburgh, said in July it was expanding testing and development of its vehicles to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas.

Uber‘s partnership with Aurora is not exclusive. Khosrowshahi said Uber would continue to install selfdriving technology on a variety of vehicle makes, but called the relationship with Aurora “special.”

“If the technology becomes real, I think our investment will be money good and then some,” he said.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.