Self-driving truck developer TuSimple may sell its US business, the company said in a regulatory filing Wednesday.
TuSimple, on the verge of delisted from Nasdaq The Stock Exchange, for failing to file two quarterly reports, said it was exploring strategic alternatives for its U.S. business, including the possibility of a sale.
The company also has operations in China and Japan, and has doubled in recent weeks. In June, TuSimple started testing self-driving technology on public roads in Japan and also completed the first fully automated operation — meaning no operator behind the wheel — continued testing public roads in China.
In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, TuSimple said that if it sold its US business, it would focus its operations in the Asia-Pacific and other global markets. Here’s something about TuSimple’s face. From public debut in 2021, TuSimple has established itself as an American company with overseas operations, even though the founding team and earliest backers come from China. The company was even considering selling its Asia-Pacific business after facing regulatory scrutiny over its ties to the country, and was ultimately banned. fired then-CEO Xiaodi Hou about TuSimple’s relationship with Hydron Motors.
CEO Cheng Lu told TechCrunch in a video interview from the TuSimple office in Tucson: “At a very high level, I think the idea that we want to separate the two operations has been around for a long time. “Many years ago, when we first started operating in both places, creating value for shareholders was seen as a positive thing. I now think that the geopolitical risk, or the perceived geopolitical risk, and the time commitment of managers-employees to manage these outweighs some of the potential value of having both two activities.”
Lu went on to say that automated freight transport has huge market potential globally, which is being driven by favorable regulations to promote self-driving cars across Asia and Europe. For example, Japan is considering implementing a dedicated self-driving car lane on the New Tomei Expressway that will be equipped with sensors, cameras and 5G networks.
TuSimple is also looking at Western Australia, where mining operations require long-haul truckers to drive through large swaths of the Outback and Western Europe, where Lu said regulations are developing. favorable for self-driving cars.
Since starting to explore selling the business in Asia, both the market and TuSimple’s growth in the region have changed, says Lu. Focusing TuSimple’s energy on “well-defined geographies” rather than stretching too thin is one way the company says it can maximize shareholder value over the long term.
TuSimple said it hired Perella Weinberg Partners as a financial advisor to explore possible deals for its US-based portion of the business. The company hasn’t had any talks with potential buyers yet, but Lu said TuSimple has attracted interest over the years. Sales can take many different forms, Lu said. TuSimple could either sell its entire U.S. business — including its R&D center in Tucson and its headquarters in San Diego — or a majority.
Lu said TuSimple has no plans to start auctioning its properties yet. Embark has begun to explore after laying off most of its staff in March.
The CEO also forewarned that a sale was inevitable — that’s just one option TuSimple is considering. But if TuSimple succeeds in selling its US business, Lu said the company might move its headquarters from San Diego to another global hub, like Singapore. The goal is not to be a purely Chinese company, but a global one with operations in APAC and Europe, Lu said.
The sale of its U.S. business will also not affect TuSimple’s position as a publicly traded company on Nasdaq. However, that state is uncertain for TuSimple. Nasdaq held a hearing with TuSimple last week to determine if the company should be delisted, but the results have yet to be released. TuSimple said it is actively working to return to compliance.
Shares of TuSimple closed at $2.31 on Tuesday, about 3% higher before wiping out most of that gain in after-hours trading. Shares fell 2.6% following the announcement.