Aurora said Thursday it will go public by merging with a blank-check company in a deal that values the autonomous-vehicle technology company at $13 billion, aiming to launch its first autonomous system for commercial trucks and passenger vehicles in two years.
After the merger with special-purpose acquisition company Reinvent Technology Partners Y
the combined company will be named Aurora Innovation Inc. and trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol ‘AUR. ‘
Reinvent is led by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and Zynga Inc.
founder Mark Pincus.
Aurora will have $2.5 billion in cash at closing, having raised nearly $2 billion from the deal, including a private investment in public equity, or PIPE, of $1 billion. The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year.
Investors in the PIPE include two of the largest shareholders of Tesla Inc.,
Baillie Gifford and Fidelity Management, investing heavyweight T. Rowe Price Associates Inc., and the investing arm of Canada Pension Plan, one of the world’s largest pension funds.
Aurora’s road to equity markets via blank-check company is a well-traveled one for startups billed as innovators in the auto and mobility sector.
Electric-vehicle maker Fisker Inc.
and Lidar company Velodyne Lidar Inc.
are two that have done the same, and the number of those becoming public via SPAC rose to 22 in 2020 from 1 each year in previous years going back to 2015.
“Our goal at Aurora is to make the movement of goods and people more equitable, productive, dependable, and—crucially—much safer than it is today,” co-founder and Chief Executive Chris Urmson said in a statement.
The merger gets Aurora “even closer to deploying self-driving vehicles and delivering the benefits this technology offers the world,” he said.
Aurora will be the first to commercialize self-driving technology at scale for the U.S. trucking and passenger transportation markets, Reinvent’s Pincus said in the statement.
Hoffman will remain on Aurora’s board of directors, was not a member of the transaction committee, did not attend any of its sessions, and recused himself from the company’s discussions about the deal, Aurora said.
Aurora in March announced a deal with Volvo Group’s autonomous unit to bring driverless technology to North American commercial trucks, and earlier in the year announced a deal with giant auto maker Toyota Motor Co.
and Japanese auto parts supplier Denso
The company was founded five years ago by Urmson, who led Google’s self-driving car team, Sterling Anderson, who oversaw Tesla’s Autopilot, the company’s suite of autonomous driving systems, and Drew Bagnell, a former executive at Uber’s autonomous-driving unit and a robotics and machine-learning professor.