Ford's exit plan has taken a profit.
Ford Motor Company has cut its stake in Rivian Automotive to 1.15%, as part of a plan to scale down its holdings in the EV company that recently released its first truck and SUV. Ford and Rivian started off tight with Rivian and its 2021 IPO with an 11.4% stake in the company. Ford planned to use its skateboard-style all-electric platform for its own electrification plans.
As a result of the news on Ford's latest stage of what looks like an exit plan, Rivian's stock dropped by 3.4 percent and Ford's by 8 percent during the afternoon of the filing. According to CNBC, Ford sold 91 million shares of the EV startup in 2022, bringing in $3 billion in total proceeds from its $1.2 billion investment. However, Rivian isn't faring so well.
Ford's profits on the investment come despite Rivian's stocks now trading at around $20 each following missed production targets and a slower-than-planned increase in production. When Rivian went public, its stocks traded initially at around $180 each. Rivian is currently valued at $18 billion. Last week, it was reported that Rivian is looking to lay off 6 percent of its staff due to dwindling cash reserves.
Ford's relationship with Rivian started in 2019 before the startup went public. However, Ford has since developed and used its own technologies for the F-150 Lightning, meaning it no longer needs Rivian's platform. With that, Ford's use for Rivian has evaporated, and it appears the automaker giant doesn't see value in investing in a future competitor.
To be fair on Rivian's stock price, Wall Street was pushing hard on EV startups in 2021 in the belief that Tesla had opened the door for new automakers that would rival legacy brands. At the time, Tesla shares were trading at an insane price.
That led to companies going public too early in a cash grab, and few are looking good today. Rivian was not one of those that went too early, though, as it was founded in 2009 to start developing its platform and business and lined its ducks up in a row before pulling the trigger on an IPO. Frankly, Rivian might not be in so much trouble if Covid hadn't hit, and $20 per share is still considered overpriced for a small automaker. Ford is currently trading at around $12 per share, Toyota is at about $14, and Volkswagen is at around $13.
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