Uber doubles down on freight business | Top Stories

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc is creating a standalone out of its long-haul trucking business, with plans to double its investment in the unit to drive growth ahead of a much-anticipated initial public offering next year.

The logo of Uber is pictured during the presentation of their new security measures in Mexico City, Mexico April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Ginnette Riquelme/File Photo

Uber said on Tuesday its separate business, which connects long-haul truckers with shippers, will be led by Lior Ron. Ron is a former Uber employee who left the ride-services firm in March, and during his absence the company negotiated a deal that allows for Ron’s return and gives Uber Freight more flexibility to make acquisitions or strategic investments.

Ron co-founded a self-driving trucking company, called Otto, which Uber acquired in 2016 and later became the centerpiece of a high-stakes lawsuit over trade-secrets theft. Uber settled that lawsuit, brought by Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) self-driving unit Waymo, in February for $245 million.

As part of Uber’s reorganization, the co-founders and employees of Otto will receive an equity stake in Uber Freight, although Uber declined to provide details on the value of that equity or the number of employees receiving it.

Uber said it will double its investment over the next year in Freight, a brokerage service for truck drivers and fleet managers looking for cargo to haul across the continental . It declined to provide a dollar amount, but said Freight’s growth was promising: the business is doubling the number of loads it connects with truckers every quarter.

Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by David Gregorio and James Dalgleish

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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