Amazon disclosed Friday that it owns a 20% stake in Rivian, the electric automaker that filed for an IPO earlier this month.
As of September 30, the e-commerce giant held equity investments, including preferred stock of Rivian that represented about 20% ownership interest, according to the filing. That holding had a "carrying value" of $3.8 billion, up from $2.7 billion as of December 31, 2020.
The disclosure, which popped up in a regulatory filing, provides fresh insight into how closely Rivian's future is tied to Amazon. Amazon has invested $1.345 billion into Rivian, according to the EV maker's initial public offering. Amazon also recently purchased $490 million worth of convertible notes in Rivian that will convert to Class A shares after the IPO, pursuant to certain pricing provisions.
Amazon is not only an investor in Rivian; it's also a customer. In September 2019, Rivian entered into an agreement with Amazon to produce 100,000 electric delivery vans. Rivian disclosed earlier this month that it expects to deliver at least 10 vehicles in the month of December 2021. All of the vans (that would be the remaining 99,990) will be delivered by 2025.
When Rivian's initial public offering filing first dropped it was clear that Amazon was a big part of Rivian's universe. For instance, there are 81 mentions of Amazon in the Rivian S-1 filing, a high number due to Amazon's dual status as investor and customer.
At the time, it seemed that Amazon owned at least 5% of Rivian, though that final number was not yet available. The disclosure from Amazon shows that its stake is far larger.
As TechCrunch has noted before, the company's strong connection to Amazon is both a boon and a risk. Per Rivian's S-1's risk-factor section:
We expect that a significant portion of our initial revenue will be from one customer that is an affiliate of one of our principal stockholders. If we are unable to maintain this relationship, or if this customer purchases significantly fewer vehicles than we currently anticipate or none at all, our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected.