The SoftBank Vision Fund will invest $2.25 billion in GM Cruise Holdings LLC, a move aimed at strengthening the company’s plans to commercialize and scale autonomous vehicle technology. General Motors will also invest $1.1 billion in GM Cruise upon closing of the SoftBank Vision Fund transaction.
“Our Cruise and GM teams together have made tremendous progress over the last two years,” explained GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Teaming up with SoftBank adds an additional strong partner as we pursue our vision of zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.”
The SoftBank Vision Fund’s first tranche of $900 million will come at the closing of the transaction. The second installment of $1.35 billion (with regulatory approval) will be completed by the Vision Fund when the Cruise AV vehicles are ready for commercial deployment. The SoftBank Vision Fund will then own a near 20 percent equity stake in GM Cruise. Officials say the relationship will allow increased flexibility with respect to capital allocation.
“We’re excited to be joining forces with a tech leader who shares our belief that AV technology will change the world,” said GM President Dan Ammann. “We look forward to partnering with SoftBank as we work toward deploying this technology safely and in massive scale.”
“GM has made significant progress toward realizing the dream of completely automated driving to dramatically reduce fatalities, emissions, and congestion,” added Michael Ronen, Managing Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers. “The GM Cruise approach of a fully integrated hardware and software stack gives it a unique competitive advantage.”
The GM and SoftBank Vision Fund investments are expected to provide the necessary capital to reach commercialization at scale, beginning already next year. Earlier this year, GM filed a Safety Petition with the Department of Transportation for its fourth-generation self-driving Cruise AV. The petition says the Cruise AV would be the first production-ready vehicle to operate safely with no driver, steering wheel, pedals, or manual controls.
“We are very impressed by the advances made by the Cruise and GM teams, and are thrilled to help them lead a historic transformation of the automobile industry,” Ronen said.
The Automoblog Staff contributed to this report and can be reached anytime.
Photos & Source: General Motors.