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Self-driving tech firm Aurora mulls sale to Apple or Microsoft - Bloomberg News

·2 min read
A Peterbilt 579 truck equipped with Aurora's self-driving system is seen at the company's terminal in Palmer

(Reuters) -Aurora Innovation Inc Chief Executive Chris Urmson recently outlined several options for the self-driving tech firm to combat challenging market conditions, including a possible sale to Apple Inc or Microsoft Corp, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.

Many electric-vehicle and self-driving startups that had raised cash easily through IPOs and mergers with blank-check firms during the market boom are now scrambling to launch vehicles and burning cash rapidly amid a bleak economy and supply-chain snarls.

Reuters reported in 2020 that Apple was moving forward with its self-driving car technology and was targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has invested in San Francisco-based self-driving car maker Cruise, which is valued at $30 billion and counts General Motors Co as a majority stakeholder.

Urmson, who co-founded Aurora after running Google owner Alphabet Inc's self-driving car project, also floated measures including cost cuts, taking the company private and spinning off or selling assets, the report said, citing an internal memo. (https://bloom.bg/3ReFDgP)

Aurora declined to comment.

Shares of the company closed 15% higher on Friday, but have lost nearly 80% this year, in a sign of its struggles since going public late last year with a blank-check firm. It has a market cap of about $2.4 billion.

Last month, Aurora said it would delay the delivery of its scalable autonomous freight trucks by a year to the first half of 2024, citing supply constraints.

Other options Urmson suggested in the memo were to buy companies in the sector with $150 million to $300 million of cash, and to freeze hiring and lay off employees, the Bloomberg report said.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)