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SoftBank, Toyota to inject $1 bil. in Uber autonomous driving project

  • April 19, 2019
  • , Kyodo News , 11:52 a.m.
  • English Press
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TOKYO — SoftBank Group Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and auto parts supplier Denso Corp. said Friday they will invest a combined $1 billion in Uber Technologies Inc. to help advance the development of the U.S. ride-hailing giant’s autonomous vehicle project amid intensifying global competition.


SoftBank will contribute $333 million and Toyota and its affiliate Denso will put a combined $667 million into Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group, an entity that aims to develop and commercialize automated ride-sharing services. The deal is set to close by September this year.


Following the investments, the entity will be valued at $7.25 billion, with the three Japanese companies holding a stake of more than 10 percent.


The deal expands and deepens Toyota’s ties with Uber after the Japanese auto giant invested $500 million in the company in August last year. The companies have expressed an intention to introduce autonomous vehicles in 2021.


SoftBank, which will make its contribution through the SoftBank Vision Fund, is already the largest shareholder in Uber and has been actively investing in next-generation mobility companies, including Didi Chuxing Technology Co. of China, Ola of India and Grab Taxi Holdings Pte Ltd. of Singapore, for some time.


Uber filed for an initial public offering last week. The company is expected to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange in early May with a valuation of $100 billion, according to U.S. media reports.


The latest investment in Uber will come as the race to develop and commercialize self-driving vehicles continues to intensify.


Alphabet Inc. subsidiary Waymo LLC, formerly Google LLC’s self-driving project, already started a commercial self-driving taxi service, called Waymo One, in December in a designated area in the U.S. state of Arizona.


Honda Motor Co. is investing $2.75 billion in a project to develop an autonomous vehicle with General Motors Co. and its unit GM Cruise LLC.

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