May 31, 2018

SoftBank investing $2.25 billion into GM's self-driving program

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata

Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors on Thursday announced that SoftBank Vision Fund will invest $2.25 billion into its self-driving program, with plans to commercialize such vehicles next year.

Bigger picture: This is a super-charging of Cruise, a self-driving startup that GM bought for nearly $1 billion in 2016. It's also further complicates the self-driving and ride-share web, as GM is a major investor in Lyft while SoftBank is a major investor in Uber.

  • GM will also invest an additional $1.1 billion into the Cruise program.
  • SoftBank's investment is split into two parts: $900 million upfront, and the other $1.35 billion after commercialization. Once complete, SoftBank would hold a 19.6% stake in GM Cruise.
  • SoftBank did explore investing in other auto OEMs during its due diligence process, but believed GM offered superior scale and speed to market.
  • The deal does not have exclusivity for either side, but both have agreed to a 7-year hold period before seeking liquidity.
  • GM declined to give a specific time in 2019 for commercialization, nor specific markets.
  • When asked about ride-hail networks, GM exec Dan Ammann said that SoftBank's various relationships give the automaker "enhanced flexibility." That might send a chill through Lyft.

Go deeper

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.