The investment, says GM, further strengthens its plans to commercialize autonomous vehicle (AV) technology at “massive” scale. The automaker also added that it will be investing $1.1 billion of its own funds into GM Cruise upon closing of the transaction.
“Our Cruise and GM teams together have made tremendous progress over the last two years,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra in a statement. “Teaming up with SoftBank adds an additional strong partner as we pursue our vision of zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion.”
Michael Ronen, managing partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers adds, “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.”
Together, the GM and SoftBank Vision Fund investments are expected to provide the capital needed to reach commercialization at scale beginning in 2019, GM says.
The SoftBank Vision Fund investment will be made in two tranches: $900 million at the closing of the transaction, and – subject to regulatory approval – $1.35 billion at the time that Cruise AVs are ready for commercial deployment. Altogether, this will result in the SoftBank Vision Fund owning a 19.6% equity stake in GM Cruise and will afford GM increased flexibility with respect to capital allocation.
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