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SoftBank, Toyota plans to invest $1 billion in Uber’s self-driving unit

A group of investors led by SoftBank Group and Toyota Motor plans to invest $1 billion or more into Uber Technologies Inc’s self-driving vehicle unit, that would value the unit at $5 billion to $10 billion, stated two people familiar with the matter.

The investment would give a cash injection for Uber’s self-driving program that is costing the money-losing startup hundreds of millions of dollars and not generating revenue.

It could also help underline Uber’s value as the ride-hailing firm plans for a stock market debut in which its cost could top $100 billion.

Uber and SoftBank refused to comment. A Toyota spokesman stated the automaker “constantly reviews and considers various options for investment” but does not have anything to declare.

News of investment talks was first noted by The Wall Street Journal, which reported a deal could be reached in April this year.

Japan’s largest automaker Toyota invested $500 million into Uber last year to work on self-driving cars, where both companies are observed as lagging competitors like Alphabet Inc’s self-driving unit Waymo.

Uber, which lost about $3.3 billion in 2018, is betting on a transition to self-driving cars to remove the requirement to pay drivers.

The nascent technology came under greater scrutiny in 2018 after one of Uber’s self-driving cars struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona in 2018. Prosecutors last week refused to pursue criminal charges.

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