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Amazon holds 20% stake in Irvine-based Rivian as IPO nears

By Ed Ludlow and Matt Day | Bloomberg owns a 20% stake in electric-vehicle maker Rivian Automotive, the Irvine-based startup with which it has placed an order for 100,000 battery-powered delivery vans, the e-commerce giant disclosed Friday in a securities filing.

As of Sept. 30, Amazon held equity investments “including preferred stock of Rivian Automotive Inc. representing an approximately 20% ownership interest,” which will be valued on the balance sheet at $3.8 billion — up from $2.7 billion at the end of 2020, Amazon said in the filing.

Amazon shares pared losses of more than 5% after the disclosure of its investment in Rivian to trade down 2.8% to $3,347.27 at 12:41 p.m. in New York. The stock has gained just 2.8% in 2021, trailing the S&P 500 Index significantly.

Related: Will Irvine-based Rivian be the ‘Tesla of trucks?’

Rivian is seen as a genuine contender in the EV market and potential rival to incumbent Tesla. The startup’s raised more than $10.5 billion from investors to date and is seeking a valuation of $80 billion in an IPO later this year, Bloomberg reported in August.

Rivian said in a filing last week that it could post a quarterly loss of as much as $1.28 billion as it ramps up production on its debut EV, a battery-electric pickup called R1T.

The company had disclosed in a separate filing earlier this year that Amazon had invested more than $1.3 billion in the automaker and held almost 150 million shares of preferred stock.

Amazon’s voting power as a percentage was redacted. A representative for Rivian declined to comment.

Amazon is helping Irvine-based electric truck maker Rivian develop a custom delivery van that includes sensors, traffic-assist technology, a large windshield and exterior cameras to give the driver a 360-degree view of the road. Amazon expects to have 10,000 Rivian vans on the road by 2022 and 100,000 by 2030. (Screen shot of Amazon video)

Ties that bind

Peter Krawiec, a senior vice president of worldwide corporate and business development at Amazon, is on Rivian’s board.

The Seattle-based company’s order for electric delivery vans extends through the end of the decade, with the first 10,000 units due before the end of next year. The order is a cornerstone of Amazon’s ambitious plan to curb its rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Limited production of Rivian’s debut pickup started in August and customer deliveries began last month. The startup has encountered numerous delays it has blamed on Covid-induced supply-chain challenges. Rivian has pushed back production of its second consumer model, a sports-utility vehicle called the R1S.

It’s also prioritizing manpower and resources for production of Amazon’s van over its retail consumer-focused models, Bloomberg reported last month.

The Rivian R1S, an electric SUV. Production was supposed to begin this summer, but has been delayed. Rivian, which has received backing from Amazon and Ford, moved its headquarters from Michigan to Irvine in 2020. (Photo courtesy of Rivian)

Read more: Why Southern California is a new EV mecca, with Rivian, Lordstown, and Karma in Irvine

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