Reports surfaced Thursday that self-driving startup Pony.ai is to suspend plans to go public in the US at a valuation of $12 billion, acting through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The company affirmed that it still intends to list publicly in the US sometime in the future. Pony.ai responded to Sina Technology that it has not yet confirmed the listing plan or schedule, and has no comment on the recent developments.
Pony.ai has negotiated exclusively with VectoIQ Acquisition II with the purpose of going public through a merger before October. In June, Pony.ai hired Lawrence Steyn, former vice chairman of investment banking at JPMorgan, as the chief financial officer for the listing.
Pony.ai now operates business in both China and the US. The firm has launched pilot commuting projects in Beijing and Guangzhou and has signed cooperation agreements with China’s state-owned automobile group. In July, Pony.ai obtained the license plates required to conduct automatic driving tests on highways. Pony.ai spokesperson told Sina Technology, “at present, the autonomous driving industry is undergoing rapid development, and Pony.ai is progressing soundly.”
Listing through an SPAC is now a popular way for self-driving car tech companies to go public as it enables startups to raise funds through an IPO and acquire private companies within a fixed period of time.
In May this year, Plus, a California-based self-driving truck company with business and partnerships in China, reached a $3.3 billion listing merger agreement with Hennessy Capital Investment Corp. V. The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter this year.