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February 10, 2021 10:15 AM, EST

Amazon-Backed Rivian Aims for IPO This Year

RivianThe Rivian Automotive Inc. R1S electric sports utility vehicle. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News)

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Rivian Automotive Inc., the electric-vehicle startup backed by Amazon.com Inc. and Ford Motor Co., is looking to go public as soon as September at a valuation of about $50 billion and perhaps more, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company’s timeline for an initial public offering and its potential value might change, and a listing could happen later in the year or even slip to 2022, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information. Rivian has been speaking to bankers about its plans, one of the people said.

Rivian, one of the highest profile potential competitors to Tesla Inc., has raised more than $8 billion to date from investors who expect its battery-electric pickup and SUV to perform well in the U.S. market. At a $50 billion valuation, it would likely be one of the biggest IPOs of the year and one of the most noteworthy EV listings since Tesla’s 2010 offering.

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The startup was valued at $27.6 billion in a funding round in January, Bloomberg News reported. Rivian raised $2.65 billion in the round from a group of investors led by T. Rowe Price Group Inc. Also in January, Claire McDonough, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive, became Rivian’s chief financial officer.

A representative for Rivian declined to comment.

Several electric vehicle makers and related companies have gone public in the past year through IPOs or through deals with so-called blank-check companies. Chinese EV startup Li Auto Inc. raised $1.26 billion in a U.S. IPO in July. Another Chinese electric car company, XPeng Inc., raised $1.5 billion in August in a U.S. listing.

Fuel cell truck startup Hyzon Motors Inc. agreed this month to a merger with Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corp., in a deal that values the two combined at more than $2 billion. Last year, Nikola Corp. also went public in a deal with a blank-check company, also known as a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC.

Rivian has more than 3,600 employees split across offices in Michigan and California and its production facility in Illinois.

Rivian also has a deal with Amazon to build 100,000 custom electric delivery vans by 2030. In the near-term, the companies say 10,000 of the vans will be on the road making deliveries by 2022. Rivian will build three different models of the van, which is capable of going about 150 miles on a single charge.

Production and U.S. deliveries of its debut consumer EV, the R1T pickup, are due to start in June. The company will then start delivering its R1S SUV in August. The company has retrofitted a former Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal, Ill., where it also plans to build the EV delivery van for Amazon.

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