Japan's SoftBank may secure stake in Uber

14 November, 2017, 11:55 | Author: Leticia Walters
  • The ride-hailing startup said that it has reached an agreement for what could be a massive investment from SoftBank the Japanese conglomerate after months of speculation about a possible deal

Uber Technologies has chose to accept the investment proposal led by Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank to pick up majority stake, bringing months-long negotiations to a close, according to latest news reports.

Uber was close on Sunday to finalizing a deal to sell a significant stake of itself to SoftBank, a Japanese conglomerate, paving the way for the ride-hailing company to make sweeping governance changes and to go public by 2019.

SoftBank is to buy the existing Uber shares in a process called a tender offer, which takes at least a month to complete. People from SoftBank did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Uber board agreed to bring in SoftBank as an investor and board member, but negotiations had been slowed by ongoing fight between Benchmark and Kalanick, the Reuters report added.

SoftBank Investment Advisors and SoftBank Group Corp board director, Rajeev Misra emphasised that "by no means is our investment decided".

Currently Uber's largest shareholder is U.S. venture capital firm Benchmark with a 13 percent stake and founder Travis Kalanick who has a 10 percent stake.

Uber's [UBER.UL] chief of policy for India and South Asia has quit, two sources familiar with the matter said on Monday, in the latest high-level departure at the online taxi company.

SoftBank shares were down 0.75 percent on the news with Makoto Sengoku, market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Centre, saying that investors were underwhelmed with the news.

Uber is now valued at around $68.5bn (£52.4bn), but reports suggest that the stock offers would be based on a lower valuation, making the total value of the multibillion-dollar deal unclear.

Uber now competes with Ola that together hold 90% of the ride hailing market.

"It's good that SoftBank is always positive towards investing in fast-growing companies".

SoftBank's investment in Uber pressures Uber's main American rival, Lyft, to raise more money to compete on driver incentive deals and lower prices.

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