May 31, 2018 / 11:56 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-GM's autonomous vehicle unit gets $2.25 bln funding from SoftBank

(Adds details, background)

May 31 (Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Thursday that Japan's SoftBank Group Corp will invest $2.25 billion through its Vision Fund in GM Cruise Holdings LLC, the carmaker's autonomous vehicle unit.

GM will also invest $1.1 billion in the unit after the deal closes, the company said.

SoftBank Vision Fund will own a 19.6 percent stake in GM Cruise once the transaction is completed.

The Softbank investment comes at a time when rivals Tesla Inc, Alphabet Inc's Waymo unit and Uber Technologies Inc are stepping up efforts to gain the first-mover advantage in the autonomous vehicle space.

GM Cruise Holdings was set up recently and its assets include Cruise Automation, which heads up GM's self-driving vehicle development and is based in San Francisco.

The No. 1 U.S. automaker - which views electric and autonomous vehicles as the keystones of future transport - has focused on rolling out self-driving cars since its estimated $1 billion acquisition of startup Cruise Automation in early 2016.

The GM and SoftBank Vision Fund investments are expected to provide capital required to reach commercialization of autonomous vehicles starting 2019, the company said.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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