TuSimple Holdings Inc.
Tsp Truck 2

TuSimple looks to offload U.S. operations

June 28, 2023
The autonomous trucking company, which has had a troubled 2022 and 2023, has hired an investment bank and will focus its work on the Asia-Pacific market.

Autonomous driving technology company TuSimple Holdings has hired an investment bank to help it explore strategic options—including a sale—for its business in the United States, which has significantly downsized over the past six months.

San Diego-based TuSimple on June 28 announced that its board contracted with Perella Weinberg Partners to look into alternatives for its U.S. operations, which it said has engineering, software, and infrastructure teams separate from its business in China. The decision, TuSimple directors said, resulted from taking into account “multiple business factors and commercial opportunities” and there is a chance that the bankers’ search will not result in any transaction.

See also: How Loadsmith plans to use autonomous trucks to boost driver jobs and cut emissions

Word of the possible sale of its U.S. arm comes about six weeks after the leaders of 8-year-old TuSimple announced they were cutting another 25% of the company’s workforce—all those job losses coming in the U.S.—“in light of current market conditions.” Those cuts came five months after executives announced 350 layoffs, most in the U.S., designed to save the company about $60 million in annual costs.

The May job cuts announcement also was accompanied by a reversal of the company’s decision to try to sell its Asia-Pacific division. That business, President and CEO Cheng Lu told a JPMorgan investor conference in March, is home to more than 450 research and development workers and has amassed 900,000 Level 4 self-driving road test miles with a fleet of about 25 trucks.

Year of turmoil for autonomous-driving company

TuSimple has gone through a troubled past 12 months, aside from cutting more than half its workforce.

Earlier last December, it ended its self-driving development deal with heavy-truck OEM Navistar, which made a deal in 2020 to factory-install the self-driving technology on its International LT Series tractor for fleet operations by 2024. 

Last November, TuSimple’s board fired its then-CEO Xiaodi Hou. An investigation by the board of directors found that TuSimple shared confidential information with Chinese AV startup Hydron, which was founded by TuSimple co-founder Mo Chen, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

See also: Torc Robotics partners with C.R. England on autonomous truck pilot

TuSimple’s decision to share the confidential information with Hydron hadn’t been disclosed to the board before TuSimple entered into a business deal with Hydron, according to The Journal. The company was then investigated by the FBI, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and Committee on Foreign Investment investigations to see if it had breached securities laws by not disclosing its relationship with Hydron.

On Sept. 30, its chief legal and administrative officer, Jim Mullen, resigned over an investor lawsuit.

TuSimple executives have not published financial results or filed quarterly reports with the SEC since last fall. Shares of the company (Ticker: TSP) closed June 28 at $2.31. They have risen nearly 50% year to date but are still down about 70% from their year-ago levels.

About the Author

Geert De Lombaerde | Senior Editor

A native of Belgium, Geert De Lombaerde has more than two decades of business journalism experience and writes about markets and economic trends for Endeavor Business Media publications FleetOwner, Healthcare InnovationIndustryWeek, Oil & Gas Journal and T&D World. With a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, he began his reporting career at the Business Courier in Cincinnati and later was managing editor and editor of the Nashville Business Journal. Most recently, he oversaw the online and print products of the Nashville Post and reported primarily on Middle Tennessee’s finance sector as well as many of its publicly traded companies.

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