Cruise, General Motors' autonomous car company, recently announced that SoftBank, a Japanese investment firm, was approved by a US national security panel to invest $2.25 billion into the company.
SoftBank has come under increasing US scrutiny over its ties to Chinese firms in the face of an escalating trade and technology war between Washington and Beijing. It is in the process of raising its second $100 billion investment vehicle, dubbed Vision Fund, after deploying its first one of equal size.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), which reviews deals for potential national security concerns, approved the investment based on fresh assurances that Cruise’s technology would be completely off limits to SoftBank, a source familiar with the matter said.
The approval unlocks a seat for SoftBank on Cruise’s board, formalizing its oversight, and cements key financing for Cruise, which has raised $7.25 billion in capital since last year, the company said.
“Today’s news is another important step towards achieving our goal to develop and deploy self-driving vehicles at massive scale,” Cruise Chief Executive Dan Ammann said.
However, approval for the deal did not always appear certain as CFIUS scrutinized it closely, according to sources close to the deal.
The $2.25 billion investment was unveiled by SoftBank in May 2018 amid a wave of investments by the Japanese technology and telecommunications conglomerate in artificial intelligence, data analytics, financial services and self-driving cars.
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