Uber in talks with SoftBank, others for $1b investment in self-driving unit

A pedestrian checks a mobile device in front of the Uber Technologies Inc. headquarters building in San Francisco, California, U.S. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Uber Technologies Inc. is in advanced discussions to spin out its costly self-driving-car unit and sell a $1 billion stake to a consortium of investors led by SoftBank Group Corp., people familiar with the plans said.

The deal would value the autonomous-vehicle business at $5 billion to $10 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. The plans aren’t finalized and could fall apart.

SoftBank and Uber declined to comment. The late-stage discussions were reported earlier Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal.

Selling a stake in the self-driving business would allow Uber to offload part of a very expensive endeavor, as it faces scrutiny from prospective investors in an initial public offering planned for the coming months.

The group led by SoftBank, Uber’s largest shareholder, would include other investors, and possibly at least one automaker, though their identities couldn’t be learned.