Autonomous vehicle startup Aurora in final talks to merge with Reid Hoffman’s newest SPAC – ClearTips

Autonomous vehicle startup Aurora, the latest special-purpose acquisition company launched by LinkedIn co-founder and investor Reid Hoffman, Zynga founder Mark Pincus and managing partner Michael Thompson, is finalizing a deal to merge with Reinvent Technology Partners Wii. is close to. with talks.

One of the sticking points is the targeted valuation, which was as high as $20 billion. It is now worth close to $12 billion and the deal is expected to be announced early next week, with multiple sources asking not to be identified because they are not authorized to discuss the deal. Arora declined to comment. Reinvent also declined to comment.

The Hoffman, Pincus, Thompson trio, who are bullish on a concept they call “scale-venture capital,” have created three SPAC, or blanc-check companies. Two of them SPAC have announced merger with private companies. Reinvent Technology Partners announced in February a deal to merge with electric vertical take-off and landing company Joby Aviation, which will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange later this year. Reinvent Technology Partners Z has merged with home insurance startup Hippo.

Their latest SPAC, known as Reinvent Technology Partners Y, has priced its initial public offering of $10 per unit for 85 million units to raise $850 million. According to regulatory filings, SPAC issued an additional 12.7 million shares to cover the allotment, with total gross proceeds of $977 million. The units are listed on the Nasdaq Exchange and trade under the ticker symbol “RTPUU”.

Aurora already has a relationship with Hoffman. In February 2018, Aurora raised $90 million from Greylock Partners and Index Ventures. Hoffman, a partner at Greylock, and Mike Volpi of Index Ventures became board members of Aurora as part of the Series A round. The following year, Aurora raised more than $530 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital and included Amazon and T. Roe Price Associates. Lightspeed Venture Partners, Geodesic, Shell Ventures and ReInvent Capital also participated in the round, along with previous investors Greylock and Index Ventures.

While it would be unusual for Hoffman and Renvent to appear on two sides of a SPAC deal, it is not unprecedented. For example, a blanc-check company formed by T.J. Rodgers announced a merger in February with Enovics, a battery technology company that he has been a director of since 2012 and its largest shareholder, Bloomberg reported at the time. . In this case, Hoffman is a member of the board, but not its largest shareholder.

Aurora, which was founded in 2017 by Sterling Anderson, Drew Bagnell and Chris Urmson, has been having a high-flying year. In December, the company reached a deal with Uber to buy the ride-hailing firm’s self-driving unit in a complicated deal that valued the combined company at $10 billion.

Aurora didn’t pay cash for Uber ATG, a company that was valued at $7.25 billion in 2019 after a $1 billion investment from Toyota, Denso and SoftBank’s Vision Fund. Instead, Uber handed over its equity in ATG and invested $400 million in Aurora. The deal gave Uber a 26% stake in the combined company, according to filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. (As a refresher, Uber held an 86.2% stake (on a fully diluted basis) in Uber ATG, according to filings with the SEC. Uber ATG’s investors held a combined 13.8% stake in the company. was.)

Since the acquisition, Aurora has integrated Uber ATG employees over the past several months and now has a workforce of about 1,600 people. Aurora recently said it has reached an agreement with Volvo to jointly develop autonomous semi-trucks for North America. That partnership, which is expected to last several years and is through Volvo’s Autonomous Solutions unit, focuses on developing and deploying trucks built for Volvo customers to operate autonomously on highways between hubs. Will do

In March, Aurora disclosed in a regulatory filing that it had sold $54.9 million in equity offerings that began in March 2021.

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