June 2, 2023
Troubled self-driving trucking company Embark is being acquired by Applied Intuition, a Mountain View-based software provider for autonomous vehicles.
The all-cash transaction has an equity value of around $71 million.
San Francisco-based Embark’s future has been uncertain since March when it announced in a regulatory filing that it was laying off 230 employees – 70% – and shutting down two offices.
CEO Alex Rodrigues had painted a bleak picture, admitting in an email to employees that “after thoroughly evaluating all alternatives, we have been unable to identify a path forward for the business in its current form.” As such, Rodrigues said it was investigating the sale of its assets and “potential dissolution.”
The company’s route forward is now clear, and Rodrigues hailed the deal as “an exciting, new chapter for Embark. “I cannot wait to see where Applied takes the technology we have built.”
Under the terms of the agreement, approved unanimously by the boards of directors of both companies, Embark shareholders are to receive $2.88 per share in cash.
Embark was founded in 2016, focusing on the self-driving trucking industry, and had built an autonomous software stack using machine learning, while relying on a safety-redundant compute system. It also developed hardware optimized for autonomy and claimed to have conducted extensive real-world testing and deployment, covering more than 1.5 million miles.
Among its partners were Anheuser-Busch, Werner Enterprises and Bison Transport. In 2021 it announced a merger with Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. II in a deal valued at $5.16 billion.
But as with many others in the autonomous vehicle industry, it has recently found funding hard to come by and struggled to commercialize its tech.
Applied says it will integrate Embark’s internal tools, data and assets to further improve its software offerings for customers in the trucking and automotive industries. Among the high-profile clients it names on its website are automakers Nissan, Toyota and the Volkswagen Group, and leading players in the truck world including Daimler Torc and Kodiak Robotics.
Embark says it will retire its fleet of test vehicles as part of the transaction, but that some key employees are expected to remain to support Applied and expand its suite of product offerings.
“We are excited to acquire Embark,” said Qasar Younis, co-founder and CEO of Applied Intuition. “This acquisition should enable us to advance our products and solve more specific, complex challenges for our customers. We respect the work Embark has accomplished in the autonomous vehicle industry and look forward to leveraging their expertise to better serve our global customer base.”
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