Autonomous vehicle startup Aurora in final talks to merge with Reid Hoffman’s newest SPAC

, TechCrunch

Self-driving car startup Aurora is the latest special-purpose acquisition company, Reinvent Technology Partners Y, launched by LinkedIn co-founder and investor Reid Hoffman, Zynga founder Mark Pincus, and managing partner Michael Thompson. We are about to conclude a merger agreement with. In discussion.

One of the drawbacks is the $ 20 billion target valuation. It’s currently approaching $ 12 billion and the deal will be announced as early as next week, sources said on condition of anonymity. Aurora declined to comment. Reinvent also declined to comment.

The Hoffman, Pincus, and Thompson trio have set up three SPACs, or blank check companies, bullish on what they call “large-scale venture capital.” Two of these SPACs have announced mergers with private companies. Reinvent Technology Partners in February Electric vertical takeoff and landing company Joby Aviation, Will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange later this year. Merged with Reinvent Technology Partners Z Home Insurance Startup Hippo..

The company’s latest SPAC, known as Reinvent Technology Partners Y, has priced 85 million initial public offerings at $ 10 per unit to raise $ 850 million. According to regulatory filings, SPAC issued an additional 12.7 million shares to cover the allocation, raising a total of $ 977 million. The unit is listed on the Nasdaq Exchange and is traded under the ticker symbol “RTPYU”.

Aurora already has a relationship with Hoffman. In February 2018, Aurora raised $ 90 million from Graylock Partners and Index Ventures. Hoffman, a partner of Graylock and Mike Volpi of Index Ventures, has become a board member of Aurora as part of a series A round. The following year, Aurora raised more than $ 530 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital and joined by Amazon and T. Rowe Price Associates. Lightspeed Venture Partners, Geodesic, Shell Ventures, Reinvent Capital, and former investors Graylock and Index Ventures also participated in the round.

It is unusual for Hoffman and Reinvent to appear on both sides of an SPAC transaction, but it is not unprecedented. For example, the blank check company founded by TJ Rogers has been a board member since 2012 and announced a merger with its largest shareholder, battery technology company Enovix, in February. Bloomberg reported at the timeIn this case, Hoffman is a member of the board of directors, but not the largest shareholder.

Founded in 2017 by Sterling Anderson, Drew Bagnell and Chris Urmson, Aurora has celebrated a leap year. In December, the company reached an agreement with Uber to acquire the autonomous driving division of a ride-hailing company in a complex deal. The combined valuation of the company is $ 10 billion.

Aurora received a $ 1 billion investment in 2019 from Toyota, Denso and SoftBank’s Vision Fund and did not pay Uber ATG with a market capitalization of $ 7.25 billion. Instead, Uber transferred its stake in ATG and invested $ 400 million in Aurora. Uber acquired a 26% stake in the merged company through the transaction, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. (According to SEC filings, Uber reaffirmed that it held an 86.2% stake in Uber ATG.

Since the acquisition, Aurora has merged Uber ATG employees over the past few months and currently has approximately 1,600 employees. Aurora recently said it had reached an agreement with Volvo to jointly develop a self-driving semi-truck for North America. The partnership is expected to last for several years through Volvo’s autonomous solutions division, focusing on the development and deployment of trucks built to operate autonomously on the highway between hubs for Volvo’s customers. I guess.

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