Uber Offloads Autonomous Driving Unit but Keeps a Stake

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Uber Technologies  (UBER) - Get Report is getting out of the autonomous driving business - but it isn't.

Uber this week sold its self-driving car division to Aurora Innovation and took a stake in the startup as it looks to pivot away from creating its own autonomous vehicles and focus on profitability following a year of being decimated by the pandemic.

Uber is investing $400 million in Aurora, giving it a 26% ownership stake in the company. That number increases to 40% when counting the stakes held by the employees and investors of Uber’s autonomous driving division.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and one other yet-to-be-named person representing Uber will join Aurora’s board, Bloomberg said. All told, the deal values Aurora at $10 billion, according to Bloomberg.

It also comes amid a particularly tough year for the likes of Uber and rival Lyft (LYFT) - Get Report, who have both been crushed by the pandemic amid lockdowns and stay-at-home orders that have dramatically reduced user traffic – something that in turn has prompted them to re-evaluate peripheral businesses they have invested billions in in order to quell investors’ concerns. 

The deal is similar in structure to one Uber made earlier this year with scooter-rental company Lime. Uber offloaded that division though invested $170 million in it to ensure a payout if and when the company turns a profit.

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