Briefing

SoftBank, other investors in late-stage talks to invest US$1 billion in Uber’s self-driving unit

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The investors would take a minority stake, valuing the unit at between US$5 billion and US $10 billion. (Wall Street Journal)

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Talking point: The move would shore up Uber’s self-driving unit ahead of its IPO, which is expected this year. It would also provide Uber with cash for the venture: the company spent US$750 million on self-driving car development in 2017, though it has since cut back. Some investors have expressed concern about the steady flow of cash going into a long-term bet that isn’t bringing in revenue for the company. Accepting a minority investment would let others cover the cash needs in the short term, although that US$1 billion won’t last long. For SoftBank, the cash injection protects the much-larger investments it’s already made in the company—in December 2017, it purchased a 15 per cent stake in Uber for US$7 billion at a US$48-billion valuation. The company is now looking to go public at a valuation that could be as high as $120 billion.