Uber sells 15% stake to SoftBank

29 December, 2017, 01:51 | Author: Sheri Evans
  • SoftBank Succeeds in Tender Offer for Large Stake in Uber

The move drops Uber's value by about 30 percent from around $70 billion to $48 billion - a reflection of the trouble that the ride-hailing company has experienced across 2017.

Uber's shareholders have agreed to sell a 20pc stake to an investor group led by SoftBank, according to The Wall Street Journal, crossing the threshold needed for the deal to complete.

The deal nevertheless sharply discounts Uber's value, which past year was estimated at nearly $70 billion.

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Kalanick stepped down in June following revelations that his company's culture had become toxic and encouraged sexism and inappropriate behavior. Dara Khosrowshahi, the former CEO of Expedia, took Kalanick's place in August after a lengthy search.

The group will buy most of the shares from early investors in a deal that values Uber at about $48bn (£35.7bn). But SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son had repeatedly teased the possibility - some might say threat - of investing in Lyft instead, including as recently as last month. The company is also planning an initial public offering in 2019. Uber board members agreed in early November to governance changes to pave the way for the SoftBank deal.

"The stockholders did the smart thing", said Erik Gordon, an entrepreneurship expert at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

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The Uber deal marks the latest massive investment by SoftBank's $93 billion Vision Fund. Two of those seats will go to SoftBank.

"We look forward to working with the purchasers to close the overall transaction, which we expect to support our technology investments, fuel our growth, and strengthen our corporate governance", Uber said in a statement.

SoftBank has previously pumped billions into several ride-hailing companies overseas, including Didi in China, Grab in Southeast Asia and 99 in Brazil.

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The Uber investment comes after a year of troubles for the company, including a lawsuit by Alphabet Inc's self-driving vehicle unit Waymo that alleges trade-secrets theft and federal investigations that span possible bribery of foreign officials in Asian countries and the use of software to evade regulators. And the Uber deal will add to worries in Silicon Valley that the Japanese conglomerate can make similar demands on other investments.

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