Uber Lands $1 Billion From Softbank, Toyota For Self-driving Cars

Uber lands $1 billion from SoftBank, Toyota for self-driving cars

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber's autonomous vehicle unit has raised $1 billion from a consortium of investors including SoftBank Group, giving the company a much-needed funding boost for its pricey self-driving ambitions on the eve of its public stock offering. Uber Technologies said on Thursday that the investment valued its Advanced Technologies Group, which works to develop autonomous driving technology, at $7.25 billion. SoftBank will invest $333 million from its $100 billion Vision Fund, while Toyota and automotive supplier Denso Corp will combined invest $667 million. Reuters had reported in March talks of the investment in ATG, which has locations in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. The funding allows Uber to transfer some of the substantial cost of developing self-driving cars onto outside investors. That is likely to appease some investor concerns over Uber's spending on the autonomous unit, which has topped $1 billion since the program started in 2016. The business unit brings in no meaningful revenue for Uber, which last year lost $3.03 billion. The company is not even offering free rides in the robot cars to passengers, like some of its rivals are, following a fatal crash last year in Arizona involving an Uber self-driving SUV. Uber released its IPO filing this month and is preparing to launch is "roadshow," when it will pitch its company prospective investors, the week of April 29, setting up for an early May debut on the New York Stock Exchange. Uber is expected to raise $10 billion at a $90 billion to $100 billion valuation, at least an 18 percent jump from its current $76 billion valuation. As part of the deal, ATG becomes its own legal entity but remains under the control of Uber with its financial performance folded into Uber's. A new ATG board will be formed, with six seats from Uber, one from SoftBank and one from Toyota. Eric Meyhofer, currently the head of ATG, will take the title of CEO and report to the new board. Such sizable deals are unusual for companies so close to an IPO, because bringing in large new investors changes the company's capital structure. The deal, however, will almost certainly require approval from the inter-agency regulatory group called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). A law enacted last year expands that group's powers to review minority stakes by foreign investors in startups with certain sensitive technologies, and self-driving technology is widely considered to have defense applications. SoftBank's investment in General Motors' self-driving car unit Cruise is still under CFIUS review and is likely weeks away from a decision, even though that investment was announced more than a year ago.

Uber Expands In Japan With Taxi App For Nagoya

Uber Expands In Japan With Taxi App For Nagoya

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Uber’s business model relies on the average car owner. You sign up for its platform and pick up rides whenever you want to earn money on the side. That’s how its business runs across the globe but Japan is a rare exception. Its service hasn’t arrived there as regulations don’t allow non-professional drivers to transport paying customers. Nevertheless, it has been trying to establish its foothold in the country with taxi-hailing apps, which it has most recently launched for Nagoya.

Toyota Confirms $500 Million Investment In Uber

Toyota Confirms $500 Million Investment In Uber

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It was reported yesterday that Toyota might decide to invest $500 million in Uber for self-driving cars. The report wasn’t immediately confirmed by either company but it has now been formally revealed that Toyota is indeed investing $500 million in the ride-hailing service that has long been working on self-driving cars.

Uber Launches Taxi-hailing Pilot Program In Japan

Uber Launches Taxi-Hailing Pilot Program In Japan

Due to Japan's laws against ride-sharing services and also due to the ease and fairness of Japan's taxi system, it's not surprising that Uber has had a hard time trying to crack the Japanese market. However it seems that Uber might have finally caught a break and has launched a new program in the country, although not necessarily in the capacity you might think.

Uber has recently been approved by the Japanese government to launch a taxi-hailing pilot program. As the name suggests, this isn't the traditional Uber setup which involves regular people picking passengers up. Instead it will see Uber team up with 20 local taxi companies to provide rides to customers who request them.

Toyota Stops Testing Self-driving Cars Following Fatal Uber Crash

Toyota Stops Testing Self-Driving Cars Following Fatal Uber Crash


A self-driving car owned by Uber was involved in an accident yesterday morning which resulted in the death of a pedestrian. As the investigation continues, Uber has grounded its entire fleet of self-driving cars until further notice. Toyota, the car manufacturer that just until a few days ago was said to be in negotiations to source self-driving car technology from Uber, has now decided to stop testing its self-driving cars on public roads as well.

Toyota has confirmed that it’s halting the tests of its "Chauffeur" self-driving tech on public roads in the United States in the wake of yesterday’s fatal accident. The car was in autonomous mode at the time of the accident and had a human safety driver behind the wheel.

Toyota Pauses Self-driving Car Testing Amid Uber Accident Probe

Toyota pauses self-driving car testing amid Uber accident probe

DETROIT - Toyota Motor Corp said on Tuesday it will pause autonomous vehicle testing following an accident in which an Uber self-driving vehicle struck and killed a woman in Tempe, Ariz. Separately, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office in Phoenix said it was awaiting the results of an investigation by Tempe police of the fatality before reviewing whether any charges should be filed. The Tempe police chief has told the San Francisco Chronicle that a preliminary look at video of the fatal crash indicates "that the Uber would likely not be at fault in this accident.

Toyota Research Institute is the company arm in charge of developing self-driving cars, with testing being conducted in California and Michigan. Toyota had reportedly been in talks with Uber to purchase the company's autonomous vehicle technology.

Uber Might Supply Self-driving Technology To Toyota

Uber Might Supply Self-Driving Technology To Toyota


There’s a reason why companies like Uber are working on self-driving car technology. You wouldn’t expect the ride-hailing service to actually build and sell a car of its own. The company is working on this technology in the hopes of selling it to conventional car manufacturers. This is why it’s not surprising to hear a new report claim that Uber is in talks with Japanese auto giant Toyota to supply it with its autonomous driving technology.

Japanese trade publication Nikkei reports that Uber is in talks with Toyota to sell its self-driving technology. It’s negotiating the possibility of installing its autonomous driving system in a Toyota minivan. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is said to have met with senior Toyota executives earlier this week.

Softbank Buys Big Chunk Of Uber, A Deal That Changes How The Company Is Run

SoftBank buys big chunk of Uber, a deal that changes how the company is run

A consortium led by SoftBank Group will buy a large number of shares of Uber in a deal that values the ride-services firm at $48 billion, Uber said on Thursday, in a victory for new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi. The price is a roughly 30 percent discount to Uber's most recent valuation of $68 billion. The deal will trigger a number of changes in the way the board oversees the company, which is dealing with federal criminal probes, a high-stakes lawsuit and an overhaul of its workplace culture. SoftBank and the rest of consortium, which includes Dragoneer Investment Group, will own approximately 17.5 percent of Uber, a person familiar with the matter said. That stake includes a share purchase from earlier investors and employees at the $48 billion valuation, as well as a $1.25 billion investment of fresh funding at the $68 billion level. Uber said the deal will close early next year. On Thursday it said that existing investors had agreed to sell enough shares for SoftBank to go through with the transaction. SoftBank itself will keep a 15 percent stake, while the rest of the consortium will own approximately 3 percent, according to a second person familiar with the matter. Khosrowshahi, who took the top job in August after Travis Kalanick was forced to step down in June, helped negotiate the deal. Uber is losing more than $1 billion each quarter, and a new cash infusion is critical. The company is also planning an initial public offering in 2019. Uber will use the investment "to support our technology investments, fuel our growth, and strengthen our corporate governance," a spokesperson, who declined to be named, said. When the deal is completed, the company will make governance changes, expanding Uber's board from 11 to 17 members including four independent directors, limiting some early shareholders' voting power and cutting the control wielded by Kalanick, who remains on the board and is still one of the largest stakeholders.

"Smart thing"

"The stockholders did the smart thing. The price is less important than locking in the governance changes and securing the support of the world's most powerful technology investor," said Erik Gordon an entrepreneurship expert at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. Rajeev Misra, chief executive of SoftBank's Vision Fund, a $98 billion tech investment vehicle, will join the Uber board, The Wall Street Journal reported. SoftBank will get two seats on the expanded board, a source told Reuters. Misra said in a statement that SoftBank has "tremendous confidence in Uber's leadership and employees." Uber board members agreed in early November to governance changes to pave the way for the SoftBank deal. Some initial investors in the consortium, including General Atlantic, dropped out over disagreement about the price offered to shareholders, Reuters previously reported. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son has taken a keen interest in ride-hailing companies around the world, and already has sizeable stakes in China's Didi, Brazil-based 99, India's Ola and Singapore Grab, all of which have competed with Uber. Didi last week raised $4 billion, including some investment from SoftBank. The Uber investment comes after a year of troubles for the company, including a lawsuit by Alphabet Inc's self-driving car unit Waymo that alleges trade-secrets theft and federal investigations that span possible bribery of foreign officials in Asian countries and the use of software to evade regulators. Over the past year, a former employee's charges of endemic sexual harassment led to an internal review, London said it is stripping Uber of its license and Uber revealed it had covered up a major hack.

Reporting by Heather Somerville and Liana B. Baker

 

Softbank Offers To Invest In Uber At 30 Percent Discount

SoftBank Offers To Invest In Uber At 30 Percent Discount


Japan’s SoftBank has reportedly been thinking about investing a big chunk of money in Uber. According to a new report, the company is planning to make an offer to purchase Uber shares at a 30 percent discount. Its offer will be based on a valuation of $48 billion which is a 30 percent discount to Uber’s most recent valuation of $68.5 billion.

Uber’s board approved the investment last month. The cash infusion is also going to bring about some corporate governance changes at the company. It would particularly limit the voting powers of some early shareholders, including that of founder and ex-CEO Travis Kalanick.