Breakingviews - Capital Calls - Autonomous trucks hit the IPO road

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NEW YORK (Reuters Breakingviews) - TOO SIMPLE. Lately, every startup with an eye on the automotive future seems to have sold itself to a blank-check company. TuSimple, an autonomous trucking startup, is on a different road: It filed on Wednesday to raise around $1 billion in an old-school initial public offering. The indicative price range would value the company, with almost no revenue, at a whopping $8 billion.

Nikola, an electric-truck wannabe, boasts a valuation of $5 billion. It went public via a special-purpose acquisition company, and at one point last year it was worth five times as much. The listing process for TuSimple could be a more rigorous test. Unlike Nikola, TuSimple has to run the gauntlet of an investor roadshow.

SPACs can publicly lay out alluring projections for early-stage companies, something a traditional IPO process doesn't allow. Electric-car upstart Lucid Motors, set to merge with another SPAC, springs to mind. Maybe TuSimple wants to give itself a sterner test. Or maybe its focus on autonomous driving for fossil-fuel powered trucks, rather than trendy electric ones, forced it in that direction. (By Lauren Silva Laughlin)

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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