General Motors announced it is acquiring SoftBank Vision Fund 1’s equity ownership stake in Cruise for $2.1 billion and separately will make an additional $1.35 billion investment in Cruise, replacing a previous commitment made by the fund in 2018.
GM already is the majority owner of Cruise, based in San Francisco, and began testing its self-driving vehicles in the city last month. GM acquired a majority ownership stake in Cruise in 2016.
“We are extremely pleased to announce GM is leveraging the strength of its balance sheet to capitalize on the opportunity to increase its equity investment in Cruise and advance our integrated autonomous vehicle strategy. We continue to believe our investment represents an extraordinary opportunity for creating long-term shareholder value,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “Our increased investment position not only simplifies Cruise’s shareholder structure, but also provides GM and Cruise maximum flexibility to pursue the most value-accretive path to commercializing and unlocking the full potential of AV technology.”
Kyle Vogt, Cruise CEO, stated: “GM’s increased investment illustrates its commitment to Cruise and our mission of creating a better world by deploying driverless cars at scale. Cruise will continue to operate as it does today – an independent company working alongside GM in a flexible, collaborative partnership. Cruise and GM’s continued partnership as well as GM’s financial strength and manufacturing scale are significant enablers and key differentiators for Cruise as we accelerate our progress and enter this next phase of commercialization.”
Last month Cruise achieved a significant milestone toward its vision of a safer, more sustainable and accessible transportation future as it became the first company to offer fully driverless rides to the public in a major U.S. city.
In addition to GM’s increased investment, Cruise says it launched its Recurring Liquidity Opportunity Program, which delivers on Cruise’s promise to provide Cruise employees the potential for long-term share price upside as well as flexibility around share liquidity. This program will keep Cruise extremely competitive in the talent market against both public and private companies as the company enters the early commercialization phase and continues to attract and retain some of the world’s best talent.
Vogt, CEO of Cruise, explained in a blog post how the Recurring Liquidity Program works:
- Employees, both current and former, can sell any amount of their vested equity at each offering, which we plan to do once per quarter. Equity is purchased by General Motors or others.
- The equity value is determined by a third-party financial firm that will consider factors such as company performance, financial projections, market conditions, relevant transactions and fundraising events, and market comps.
- We expect this value to grow as we continue to successfully deploy and scale our technology.