Report: Amazon, GM In Talks For Rivian Investments | WGLT

Report: Amazon, GM In Talks For Rivian Investments

Feb 12, 2019

UPDATED 9 a.m. | Amazon and General Motors are considering making investments in Rivian that would give them minority stakes in the electric vehicle startup, according to a published report.

Reuters reported Tuesday that a deal could be announced as early as this month, though there is a chance that talks will fall through. GLT was unable to confirm the Reuters report late Tuesday.

“We don’t comment on media speculation,” Rivian spokesperson Michael McHale told GLT.

Rivian leadership has repeatedly talked about potential partnerships with other companies—in and out of the auto industry. The “skateboard” technology underpinning Rivian’s first two electric vehicles, which will be built in Normal, could be bought and used by other companies to power their own electric vehicles or, hypothetically, tractors or jet skis.

Up till now, Rivian’s only publicly known financiers were Saudi conglomerate Abdul Lateef Jameel, its largest shareholder; Sumitomo, the Japanese company with a U.S. operation based in New York; and Standard Chartered Bank, an international group based in London.

Last week, Forbes reported that Rivian was in “negotiations with a well-known brand that’s not a traditional automaker … and the company expects to get further investments of capital within the first quarter of 2019.”

“We don’t comment on rumors/speculation,” an Amazon spokesperson told GLT late Tuesday.

“We admire Rivian’s contribution to a future of zero emissions and an all-electric future," GM said in a statement Wednesday.

Rivian is riding a wave of international media coverage in the wake of its well-received debut at the LA Auto Show in November. The once-stealthy company, led by founder and CEO RJ Scaringe, has been featured in several national publications, including NPR and The Wall Street Journal, described as a Tesla rival focused on bringing the first electric pickup to market.

In Bloomington-Normal, Rivian’s every move is watched because it could soon become one of the community’s largest employers. In 2016 Rivian secured millions in local and state tax breaks to buy the former Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal, where it plans to build its electric pickup and SUV starting in 2020. Rivian has promised to hire 1,000 full-time workers in Normal by 2024.

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