As Uber prepared to go public, it’s also looking to bolster its many business units. With that in mind, the Wall Street Journal reports that the ride-hailing company is in advanced talks with organizations like SoftBank about an investment into its self-driving car unit. The potential investment, which reportedly may include an automobile manufacturer as well, could come to more than $1 billion.
Units like Uber’s self-driving car initiative cost a lot of money and require a lot of manpower. A new, large investment would ease up the financial burden for the company and also potentially provide a strategic partnership with another carmaker, according to the WSJ. The cash infusion would give investors a minor stake in the unit, and could potentially value it between $5 billion and $10 billion, says the report citing unnamed sources.
For Uber, this move is part of two races. One, it’s competing with the likes of Alphabet, GM, and Lyft to have the best consumer-ready autonomous vehicle fleet. (SoftBank invested $2.25 billion in GM’s self-driving unit last year.) Two, both Uber and Lyft plan to go public this year. Uber’s Wall Street performance certainly relies on its ability to remain ahead of the industry curve. Thus, it makes sense why the company is reportedly seeking such a large investment at this point in time.
I reached out to Uber and the company declined comment. The investment talks have yet to be finalized, the report notes, so it’s possible the whole thing could fall through.
You can read the full report here.