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GM to buy SoftBank’s stake in Cruise self-driving unit

A robotic automobile of the General Motors subsidiary Cruise is on a check drive.

Andrej Sokolow | image alliance | Getty Images

DETROIT – General Motors is buying SoftBank Vision Fund 1’s fairness possession stake in its majority-owned Cruise autonomous car unit for $2.1 billion, the automaker introduced Friday afternoon.

Softbank first acquired a minority possession in Cruise in 2018. Its exit comes because the outstanding know-how funding agency was set to have to make investments a second tranche of $1.35 billion upon Cruise’s industrial deployment of automobiles, which GM will now pay.

It additionally follows Cruise CEO Dan Ammann abruptly leaving the company in December. Ammann was reportedly let go from Cruise by GM CEO and Chair Mary Barra, who additionally chairs Cruise’s board, over disagreements in technique, together with when to take the company public.

The announcement was made in conjunction with GM and Cruise additionally asserting the launch of a “Recurring Liquidity Opportunity Program”, in which Cruise staff with vested stock choices will likely be ready to promote them to GM.

“Employees can sell as many vested shares as they like at a fair price determined by a third party,” Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt mentioned on Twitter. “Or they can hold onto their shares and hope for appreciation over time.”

The program is seemingly supposed to assist retain Cruise staff who might have been hoping for a windfall from an preliminary public providing of the company, one thing that Wall Street has been hoping for as effectively.

But it seems that GM and Cruise have determined to wait on that IPO. A Cruise IPO can be a “major distraction, especially right now” because the company is scaling up its newly-launched driverless ride-hailing service in San Francisco, Vogt mentioned on Twitter.

A GM spokesman mentioned SoftBank’s exit from the company was not associated to the worker program.

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