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EV Upstart Rivian Finds Believer in George Soros

The stock of Irvine-based Rivian Automotive Inc. (Nasdaq: RIVN) saw a steady rise last week after news of a multibillionaire investor’s nearly $2 billion stock purchase at the end of 2021 came to light.

George Soros, founder of investment firm Soros Fund Management, purchased 19.8 million shares in the electric vehicle maker during the fourth quarter when the company went public, according to a recent securities filing.

The stake was worth about $2 billion around the end of the year, making Soros one of the automaker’s most prominent investors after its initial public offering.

It wasn’t disclosed whether Soros bought the stock at the time of the IPO or afterward, or if he still owns that amount of stock in the closely watched EV upstart.

Soros, who opened his own office in 1973, became famous in 1992 for shorting the British pound.

Rivian appears to be part of Soros’ efforts to increase investments in green companies, one of his many philanthropic priorities in the Open Society Foundation.

Regulatory filings also show Soros owning $42 million of stock in fellow OC-based auto-focused chipmaker indie Semiconductor Inc. of Aliso Viejo, and $23 million of stock in Irvine-based Blizzard Entertainment’s parent company, Activision Blizzard Inc. 

Fellow Stakeholders

Big investments in Rivian have helped boost the recent results of two other notable companies.

Fellow automaker Ford Motor Co. told investors that its stake in Rivian was valued at $10.6 billion as of Dec. 31 when Ford reported it had a total of $29.1 billion in marketable securities.

Ford executives on a recent conference call said the value of its Rivian shares may change dramatically as it must mark-to-market its investment. Since Dec. 31, Rivian shares are down about a third.

Amazon’s fourth-quarter net income was $14.4 billion, which includes a pretax valuation gain of $11.8 billion related to its stock investment in Rivian, Amazon said on its most recent earnings call.

Amazon has an 18.5% stake in the Irvine business and an order for 100,000 Rivian commercial delivery trucks by 2025.

Rivian opened at $78 on Nov. 10, reaching a high of $179.47 within a few days. Rivian’s IPO raised almost $14 billion, a huge step in the electric vehicle industry among other automakers.

The company produced 1,015 vehicles by the end of last year and delivered 920, falling short of its production goal of 1,200, due in part to industry strains on the supply chain.

Future Production

Rivian plans to move toward higher-capacity production for its future products, and is developing a second manufacturing site in Atlanta. The facility reportedly will produce up to 400,000 vehicles per year once it opens, which is tentatively slated for 2024. Its factory in Normal, Ill., is slotted to make 200,000 vehicles annually.

The company will release its fourth-quarter results on March 10. Rivian, which hit a low of $50 at January’s end, saw shares rise 9% for the week with a market cap of almost $58 billion. 

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