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SoftBank Vision Fund to invest $2.25bn in GM's self driving car unit

ABR Staff Writer Published 04 June 2018

SoftBank Vision Fund is investing $2.25bn in General Motors' self driving car unit, further strengthening the automaker's efforts with autonomous vehicle technology.

Through this investment, SoftBank Vision Fund will own 19.6% stake in GM Cruise.

The investment will strengthen the company’s plans to commercialize self-driving technology at a large scale.

GM will also invest $1.1bn in GM Cruise upon completion of the transaction.

The investment from SoftBank will be made in two tranches. After the transaction is closed, the fund will invest the first of $900m.

At a time when the self-driving vehicles from GM Cruise will be ready for commercial deployment, the fund will complete the second tranche and the remaining investment of $1.35bn. The investment is subject to regulatory approval.

The investment is expected to help increase GM’s flexibility with respect to capital allocation for GM Cruise.

The investment from GM and SoftBank Vision Fund are expected to provide capital needed to reach commercialization at a large scale starting next year.

SoftBank Investment Advisers managing partner Michael Ronen said: “GM has made significant progress toward realizing the dream of completely automated driving to dramatically reduce fatalities, emissions and congestion.

“The GM Cruise approach of a fully integrated hardware and software stack gives it a unique competitive advantage. 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.”

GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra stated that the GM and Cruise teams together have made significant progress in the last two years. By teaming up with SoftBank can now add additional strength in pursuing the vision for zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.

GM acquired Cruise in 2016. The start-up was making conversion kits which could add autonomous capabilities to certain automobiles.  

In the same year, GM also invested $500m in ride-hailing start-up Lyft. In the long run, the company wants to expand the network of on-demand chauffeur-less autonomous vehicles.


Image: General Motors president Dan Ammann (left) and GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra (right) give SoftBank Investment Advisers managing partner Michael Ronen a closer look at the Cruise AV in Detroit, Michigan. Photo: Courtesy of Steve Fecht for General Motors.