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

Aurora Innovation Inc (AUR.O) 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 (AAPL.O) or Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), 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 (GM.N) as a majority stakeholder.

Urmson, who co-founded Aurora after running Google owner Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) 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.

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.