According to three people involved in the deal, the discussions for Uber’s division — valued at $7.25 billion as recently as last July and whose investors include SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund (SFTBF) and Toyota Motor Corp (TM) — started in October, and they are “far along.”
Aurora Innovation was founded three years ago by Chris Urmson, a former lead engineer for Google’s self-driving project. The company, which focuses on developing autonomous driving technology and whose most recent valuation was about $2.5 billion, is led by execs who previously worked at Tesla (TSLA), Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), and Uber.
Uber has had a difficult year, with the third-quarter earnings report showing losses of $0.62 per share. Revenue fell 18 percent and plunged for the second quarter in a row.
Earlier this year, Uber lost out on a high-profile merger with Chicago-based Grubhub Inc. (GRUB), which would have given the transportation network company a big boost to its food delivery business that has seen strong demand during the pandemic. Grubhub struck a $7.3. billion deal instead with Just Eat Takeaway.com, a Netherlands-based company.
Election Day brought Uber better news, though as California voters passed Proposition 22, a ballot measure backed by Uber, Lyft, Inc. (LYFT), DoorDash and other gig economy companies. Prop 22 allows gig economy companies to keep compensating their drivers as independent contractors.
Uber shares closed $1.21, or 2.61%, higher at $47.61 on Friday.