Joby Aviation takes over Uber's air taxi business, Elevate

(Reuters) -Joby Aviation, an electric passenger aircraft developer, said on Tuesday it would take over Uber Technologies Inc’s flying taxi unit, Elevate, the second cash-burning business the ride-hailing company has sold off in two days.

FILE PHOTO: An Uber sticker is seen on driver Margaret Bordelon's car in Lafayette, Louisiana, U.S. February 16, 2020. REUTERS/Callaghan O'Hare/File Photo

Joby did not disclose the terms of the deal, but said Uber had also agreed to invest a further $75 million in the Santa Cruz, California-based company, bringing its total investment to $125 million. Joby has raised more than $720 million in funding since it was founded in 2009, most of it from Toyota Motor Corp.

Uber on Monday announced the sale of its self-driving unit to autonomous vehicle startup Aurora in a move it said would accelerate the ride-sharing company’s goal to achieve profitability.

Uber has promised investors to achieve profitability on a basis of adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization by the end of 2021. During the last quarter, Uber reported a $625 million adjusted EBITDA loss.

The company has said it would focus on its core ride-hailing and food delivery platforms to achieve profitability and implemented stringent cost cutting measures, including large rounds of layoffs.

While losses at Uber’s self-driving, Elevate and other technology programs had slightly narrowed this year, the company still reported a third quarter $104 million adjusted EBITDA loss for the segment.

Elevate began in 2016 and its team until earlier this year promised the launch of flying taxi services in Los Angeles, Dallas and Melbourne in 2023.

Uber and Joby on Tuesday said they would each integrate the other company’s services into their own app to allow customers to book seamless ground and air transportation in the future.

Uber in January announced it had partnered with South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co to develop electric air taxis as part of its Elevate program.

Hyundai did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru, Tina Bellon in New YorkEditing by Shinjini Ganguli, Matthew Lewis and Sonya Hepinstall