Amazon is offering stock awards worth at least $100 million to retain the employees of self-driving car startup Zoox following the $1.3 billion acquisition deal. The deal is expected to be completed by September, as stated in documents viewed by Reuters.

Zoox, which had a valuation of $3.2 billion in 2018, has been facing financial struggles, with a monthly burn rate of over $30 million and a projected cash shortage by July. To alleviate this situation, Amazon had the option to lend Zoox $30 million before finalizing the acquisition.

Amazon’s aggressive expansion into the self-driving technology sector led to the acquisition of Zoox, known for its efforts in developing a fully autonomous vehicle from the ground up. The deal includes specific provisions to retain key employees, with all employees on one list required to accept job offers from Amazon for the deal to proceed. At least 19 employees from another list must also remain with the company. Additionally, Amazon plans to extend job offers to other Zoox employees in three different waves, with a minimum acceptance rate of 90% from the first two waves and 88% from the third for the deal to be finalized.

Before reaching an agreement with Amazon, another company called Cruise offered $1.05 billion to acquire Zoox. However, there was no response from Zoox regarding this offer. Reports also indicate that two senior engineers from Zoox have joined Waymo, Alphabet’s self-driving unit.

As part of the acquisition deal, Zoox co-founder Jesse Levinson will receive 40% of his compensation over a three-year period, while Zoox CEO Aicha Evans received a cash bonus of $3.4 million. Additionally, current Zoox employees who choose to remain with the company after the acquisition will receive a cash bonus pool of $125 million, along with Amazon stock units.

According to the documents, the value of Zoox common shares is expected to range between 69 cents and 76 cents per share once the deal is finalized. This acquisition highlights Amazon’s dedication to investing in and expanding its presence in the self-driving technology industry.

Useful links related to the article:
1. Reuters article on Amazon’s stock awards for Zoox employees
2. Business Insider article on Amazon’s acquisition of Zoox