Amazon is reportedly planning to scrap the proposed $1.3bn acquisition of self-driving start-up Zoox, if the latter loses too many employees.

According to a Reuters report, the e-commerce and technology giant aims to create $100m in stock awards in a bid to retain Zoox employees.

The move comes after technology news publication The Information reported that two senior Zoox engineers joined Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google’s parent firm Alphabet.

The deal documents between the two companies note two lists of ‘key employees’ at Zoox, the news agency added. In order to close the deal, all employees from the first list must join Amazon, while 19 from the second list are also required.

Zoox has around 900 employees.

Last month, Amazon signed an agreement to acquire Zoox to expand its presence in the autonomous vehicle technology space. The two companies have been in advanced discussions to execute the deal since May.

For the deal, Amazon will pay $1.3bn in cash. The completion of the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.

Founded in 2014, Zoox seeks to develop purpose-built, zero-emissions vehicles for autonomous ride-hailing services.

According to PitchBook, the company was valued at $3.2bn in 2018.

At the time of the announcement, Zoox CEO Aicha Evans said: “This acquisition solidifies Zoox’s impact on the autonomous driving industry.

“We have made great strides with our purpose-built approach to safe, autonomous mobility, and our exceptionally talented team working every day to realise that vision. We now have an even greater opportunity to realize a fully autonomous future.”