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Amazon Plans $100M Stock Awards To Retain Zoox Talent, Will Back Out If Not Enough Workers Accept: Report

Amazon Plans $100M Stock Awards To Retain Zoox Talent, Will Back Out If Not Enough Workers Accept: Report

Amazon Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) plans on awarding $100 million in restricted stock to Zoox employees to induce them to continue working at the startup post-acquisition, according to a Reuters report Thursday.

What Happened

The e-commerce company announced its intent to purchase the autonomous driving startup in late June. Zoox works on purpose-built, zero-emissions vehicles meant for ride-hailing, and has over 1,000 workers on its payroll. 

Documents seen by Reuters contain two lists of “key employees.” All personnel on the first list, and at least 19 from the second list, must agree to the retailer’s employment offer for the deal to go through.

In addition, Amazon will offer jobs to three schedules of remaining Zoox employees. 90% of employees from two schedules and 88% from the third must also accept the offers.

Amazon is paying $1.3 billion in cash for the acquisition of Zoox and will likely close the deal by September, Reuters reported.

Why It Matters

The deal documents accessed by Reuters indicate that Zoox had been spending $30 million each month as of early 2020, and would run out of funds by the end of this month at a similar pace.

The agreement between Amazon and Zoox rewards “company service providers” with a $125 million cash “transaction bonus pool” proportional to their shares, provided they had joined before May 18. 

Amazon will pay for 30% of the funding for the pool, in addition to the $1.3 billion restricted stock awards.

Zoox had preferred the Amazon offer over another $1.05 billion acquisition offer made by General Motors Company’s (NYSE: GM) self-driving unit Cruise.

Price Action

Amazon shares traded 0.33% higher at $3,193 in the after-hours session on Thursday. The shares had closed the regular session 3.29% higher at $3,182.63.

Image: Zoox


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