Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent Alphabet, stunned a packed courtroom this morning by announcing that it and Uber have settled their legal dispute.
As part of the agreement, Waymo will receive around $244.8 million worth of stock in Uber (i.e., 0.34% stake at a $72 billion valuation) and a pledge not to incorporate Waymo's trade secrets into its own technology.
There had been early expectations of a settlement prior to trial, but that had largely dissipated as lawyers and jury members entered the San Francisco courtroom for their fifth day — a day in which the man at the center of the dispute, former Google and Uber self-driving engineer, Anthony Levandowski, might have taken the stand.
- It's also worth noting that the settlement uses the $72 billion valuation, given that SoftBank recently purchased stock from insiders (including Google Ventures) at a much lower price.
- The $245 million figure seems small by Alphabet/Uber standards, perhaps reflecting that Waymo's litigators had not demonstrated economic harm. It also may reflect that Alphabet still views Uber as a valuable company, despite recently investing in rival Lyft.
- Sources tell Axios that there had been settlement talks at multiple points since the original lawsuit was filed in February 2017.
- Waymo remains in private arbitration with Levandowski over his alleged poaching of employees.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi:
Ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick:
Presiding Judge William Alsup:
- Backgrounder: Full history of the Uber-Waymo dispute.
- Correction: An earlier version of this story said the $245 million was in cash, not stock, based on the phrasing of Waymo's statement. Uber has clarified that it is equity.