GM’s Cruise gets $1.15 billion funding from T. Rowe Price, SoftBank

GM Cruise Automation

General Motors’s majority-owned Cruise self-driving division stated on Tuesday fund manager T. Rowe Price and a group of current investors put down $1.15 billion in new equity, evaluating the unit at $19 billion.

Funding for Cruise comes weeks follow the statement from T. Rowe Price that it has sold 92 percent of its stake in Tesla Inc.

The recent funding for Cruise includes present investors General Motors, SoftBank Vision Fund and Honda Motor, and should give the firm much-needed cash as it intends to launch vehicles by the end of this year.

The additional capital comes at an important time as a host of automakers and technology companies weigh how soon autonomous vehicles can be marketed and sold in high volumes, and discover ways to share increasing costs for hardware and software development.

Competitor Ford Motor is in talks with German automaker Volkswagen about contributing to create autonomous vehicles in a deal that could associate an investment by VW in Argo AI, an autonomous vehicle technology company mainly owned by Ford.

Cruise, which has secured capital commitments of $7.25 billion in the last year, was valued at $14.6 billion in the last funding round by Honda in October, that had invested $2.75 billion.

The present valuation is equal to about 35 percent of GM’s market capitalization despite no significant revenue and a product not ready for commercial launch.

GM in February outlined an incentive plan for Cruise Chief Executive Officer Dan Ammann, pointing toward a potential initial public offering for the business under ten years.

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