Car startup Cruise settles case after suing a cofounder

Self-driving car startup Cruise has settled a lawsuit against its former cofounder Jeremy Guillory.

The lawsuit came about after General Motors announced that it was buying the self-driving car company for a reported $1 billion earlier this year. The settlement of the suit comes almost a week after GM completed the Cruise acquisition.

As part of the settlement, Cruise and its founder Kyle Vogt now acknowledge that Guillory was a cofounder of the company.

A representative for Guillory declined to discuss the settlement amount, but said the terms were “mutually agreeable.” As part of the settlement, the parties have both agreed to dismiss their lawsuits.

Vogt and Guillory had been trading lawsuits since General Motors announced in March that it was buying Cruise, a self-driving car startup, at a reported price tag of $1 billion — that’s one of the largest tech acquisitions of 2016 and the largest ever in Y Combinator’s history.

The legal debate only came to light in April after Cruise unsealed its initial complaint against Guillory. According to the original Cruise filing, the startup argues that Guillory never had equity, wrote code, nor invested in the company, although he was listed on the application to Y Combinator. Cruise requested a declaration that no part of the company belongs so the merger can move ahead “because Defendant frustrated Cruise’s acquisition by GM”.

In that suit, Cruise claims that Guillory “emerged from the shadows with his hand out within days” of the GM acquisition news. “As explained below, Mr. Guillory should put his hand back into his pocket; he does not have any stake in the company,” the claim said.

In a cross complaint, Guillory said that he is entitled to 50% of the company now that it has been sold.

“This case is about whether a founders’ agreement means anything in today’s Silicon Valley start-up culture, or if naked ambition, a desire to take all the credit, conceit, and greed for the very last dollar now rule the day,” the cross-complaint reads.

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