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Alphabet's Waymo raises $2.25bn from outside investors

By Ramla Soni

Google parent company prepares to give up more control over some projects

Self-driving technology company Waymo has raised $2.25 billion (€2bn, £1.7bn) from a group of outside investors, making it the first time it has looked beyond its parent company Alphabet (GOOGL) for capital.

The $2.25 billion sum matches that which SoftBank invested into Cruise, the competing driverless car unit under development by General Motors (GM).

The injection of outside capital is the latest sign that Alphabet is preparing to give up more control over some of its projects as it seeks to turn them into commercially viable ventures with diversified backing.

The investment in Waymo has been led by Silicon Valley private equity firm Silver Lake, along with sovereign wealth funds Mubadala and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Other new investors in Waymo include automotive supplier Magna International and US car retailer AutoNation, as well as venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.

Alphabet also contributed to the round, but the sum has not been disclosed.

Last year, Morgan Stanley slashed its valuation of Waymo by $70 billion, to $105 billion, although it also said that, at the time, Waymo only accounted for about $20 billion of Alphabet’s overall valuation.

Other candidates for future Alphabet spin offs include the healthcare firm Verily, which counts Silver Lake as an early investor. Drug research and development firm Calico is also striking out beyond Google campus, establishing a development partnership with AbbVie.

FURTHER READING: Setback for Alphabet self-driving car project Waymo

FURTHER READING: Alphabet share price forecast for 2020 and beyond

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