Saudi Arabian fund invests more than $1bn in Lucid Motors

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is investing in California-based Lucid Motors. (Reuters)
Updated 17 September 2018

Saudi Arabian fund invests more than $1bn in Lucid Motors

  • Deal will provide funding to enable the commercial launch of Lucid’s first electric vehicle – the Lucid Air

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) said on Monday it had agreed to invest more than $1 billion in Lucid Motors to produce electric vehicles.
The deal will provide funding to enable the commercial launch of Lucid’s first electric vehicle, the Lucid Air, in 2020.

The investment comes a few weeks after Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk said the Saudi sovereign wealth fund could help him fund a $72 billion deal to take his electric carmaker private, although bankers have cast doubt on it making a big investment.
Tesla’s shares fell 2.2 percent on news of PIF’s investment in Lucid.
The deal supports Saudi efforts to build an environmentally friendly economy, a goal outlined in its Vision 2030 plan to diversify the kingdom away from a reliance on oil.
“By investing in the rapidly expanding electric vehicle market, PIF is gaining exposure to long-term growth opportunities, supporting innovation and technological development and driving revenue and sectoral diversification for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” a spokesperson for PIF said.
PIF has an interest in electric cars and earlier this year built a stake of just under 5 percent in Tesla by snapping up shares in the open market, rather than acquiring newly issued shares.
A PIF spokesperson declined to say whether it had invested in Tesla.
Obtaining cheap capital is a constant challenge for carmakers, which can spend $1 billion or more engineering a single new model.
Based in Newark, California, Lucid Motors was founded in 2007 as Atieva by Bernard Tse, a former Tesla vice president and board member, and Sam Weng, a former executive at Oracle Corp. and Redback Networks.
The funding, which will be made through a special-purpose vehicle wholly owned by PIF, will be used by Lucid to complete development and testing of the Lucid Air, construct a factory in Arizona and start up production of the car.
“The convergence of new technologies is reshaping the automobile, but the benefits have yet to be truly realized,” said Peter Rawlinson, chief technology officer of Lucid. “This is inhibiting the pace at which sustainable mobility and energy are adopted. At Lucid, we will demonstrate the full potential of the electric connected vehicle in order to push the industry forward.”
PIF has already made substantial commitments to other environmentally friendly projects, including renewables and recycling, and to technology companies or investments, including a $45 billion agreement to invest in a giant technology fund led by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.


Australian watchdog considers its own Google antitrust case

Updated 21 October 2020

Australian watchdog considers its own Google antitrust case

  • Competition and Consumer Commission launched Australian court action against Google in July

CANBERRA, Australia: Australia’s competition watchdog will consider its own antitrust case against Google, the commission chairman said Wednesday after the US Justice Department sued the company for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising.
Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims described the US case filed Tuesday as one of the world’s biggest antitrust cases in the past 20 years.
“I’m delighted the D.o.J.’s taking it on and we’ll follow it really closely,” Sims told the National Press Club, referring to the US Department of Justice.
“We’re going to look at it and see whether there’s any value in what we might do,” Sims added.
Separately, Sims is drafting legislation to address the imbalance in bargaining power between Google and the Australian media businesses that want the tech giant to pay for journalism.
The bills, that will be ready to be introduced to Parliament by December, would empower an arbitrator to make binding decisions on how much Google and Facebook must pay media companies for news content.
Sims said his commission “had a lot of talk” with the US Justice Department before he released a report in July last year that recommended more government regulation on the market power of Google and Facebook that would ensure fair deals for other media businesses and more control for individuals on how their data was used.
Sim’s commission launched Australian court action against Google in July alleging the California-based company misled account holders about its use of their personal data.
The commission alleges the Google misled millions of Australians to obtain their consent and expand the scope of personal information that Google collects about users’ Internet activity to target advertising. Google denies the allegations.
In October last year, the commission sued Google in an Australian court alleging the company broke consumer law by misleading Android users about how their location data was collected and used. That case will be heard by the Federal Court next month. Google also denies that allegation.
Sims said Google was lobbying “every politician at Parliament House” ahead of draft legislation being introduced to make it pay for news.
Google has said the proposed laws would result in “dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube,” put free services at risk and could lead to users’ data “being handed over to big news businesses.”
Facebook has warned it might block Australian news content rather than pay for it.