Amazon is acquiring self-driving startup Zoox in a deal worth over $1 billion, according to The Information. Once the deal finalizes, the Seattle firm would gain control of the startup, which has roughly 1000 employees. The announcement could be made as early as today, making this the firm's biggest investment yet in self-driving car technology. This is also one of Amazon's largest overall investments to date, after Whole Foods ($13.7 billion) and Zappos ($1.2 billion), a shoe retailer.
Rumors of the acquisition first surfaced last month when The Wall Street Journal reported that companies were in advanced talks, and Amazon would acquire Zoox for less than the $3.2 billion it achieved in a funding round in 2018. This will not be the first investment that Amazon has made in self-driving startups, as the firm took part in a $530 million funding round last year for Aurora Innovation (via The Verge), a startup headed by the former head of Google's self-driving car division.
As per the report, the majority of Zoox investors would get their money back, and some stand to make a profit. Investors include Lux Capital, DFJ, and Michael Cannon-Brooks, Atlassian's co-founder. Zoox is expected to function as an independent subsidiary after the acquisition, similar to how Twitch operates.