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Embark Technology goes private in $71M deal

Embark Technology, an early mover in autonomous trucking that ran out of money to get to commercial production, said Thursday it would go private in a $71 million all-cash merger with Applied Intuition Inc. Upon completion of the merger, Embark will cease to trade on the Nasdaq.

Embark went public in November 2021 in a reverse merger with an enterprise value of $5 billion. 

Embark name will live on

The Embark name will live on as a subsidiary of Applied Intuition, a Mountain View, California-based tooling and software provider for autonomous vehicle development. 

Embark’s autonomous software stack uses machine learning for driving perception. The company intended to make it available for integration by major truck manufacturers. It delivered a Kenworth T-680 integrated with its software to Knight-Swift in December. 

Since its founding in 2016, Embark has amassed more than 1.5 million miles of supervised autonomous highway driving. It is retiring its fleet of 24 trucks as part of the transaction.

Integrating Embark’s tools

Applied plans to integrate Embark’s internal tools, data and software assets to further improve its offerings for customers in the trucking and automotive industries.

“This acquisition should enable us to advance our products and solve more specific, complex challenges for our customers,” Qasar Younis, Applied Intuition co-founder and CEO, said in a news release. “We respect the work Embark has accomplished in the autonomous vehicle industry and look forward to leveraging their expertise to better serve our global customer base.”

Embark in March laid off 70% of its workers and began to look for ways to continue. Co-founder Brandon Moak left the company in April, leaving CEO Alex Rodrigues to wind down operations in San Francisco.

‘Exciting new chapter’ for Embark

“Today marks an exciting new chapter for Embark,” Rodrigues said. “I would like to thank all past and present employees for their contributions over the past seven years. I appreciate everything they have done for the company, and I cannot wait to see where Applied takes the technology we have built.”

An unknown number of Embark employees will join Applied Intuition as part of the merger, which is expected to close in August. If Embark shareholders fail to approve the transaction or it fails for several other reasons, Embark would pay a $3 million breakup fee to Applied Intuition, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission 8-K filing.

According to Law 360, investors in a class action suit that claimed Emberk and Northern Genesis miscategorized certain shares last week asked a California federal judge to give an initial green light to a $2.5 million deal resolving claims because of the “very high risk” that Embark might dissolve or seek bankruptcy protection.

Embark Trucks laying off 70% of employees, winding down business

Knight-Swift takes the wheel of Embark-equipped autonomous truck

Embark autonomous and BYD electric trucks demo the future

Click for more FreightWaves articles by Alan Adler.

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