(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) plans to create at least $100 million in stock awards to retain the 900-plus employees of Zoox, the self-driving car startup it offered to buy last month, and can walk away from the deal if large numbers of them turn down job offers from the technology giant.
Amazon, which is aggressively expanding into self-driving technology, announced June 26 it had agreed to acquire the Silicon Valley company, which was founded on an ambitious effort to design a fully autonomous vehicle from scratch rather than retrofitting existing cars for self-driving.
Amazon will pay $1.3 billion in cash for the takeover, which the parties hope to close by September, according to deal documents seen by Reuters.
Zoox had been valued at $3.2 billion in 2018, according to data from PitchBook. The Amazon deal documents show Zoox was burning more than $30 million each month in early 2020 and projected it would run out of cash by July. Amazon had the option to lend Zoox $30 million on signing the agreement in June, with the option for further loans before the deal closes.