Saturday, 25 November, 2017

Uber to Sell a Large Chunk of Stake to Softbank

Nellie Chapman | 14 November, 2017, 12:39

"We've entered into an agreement with the consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer [of San Francisco] on a potential investment, a statement from Uber said".

The ride-hailing company said the money would fuel Uber's expansion and investments in technology. If the deal is completed, Benchmark will drop a lawsuit against Kalanick, who will in return allow Uber's board directors to vote on his selected board appointees in the future.

The pact gets Uber closer to clearing a major hurdle as it tries to overcome a series of scandals, leadership turmoil and executive departures.

The move was unveiled shortly after reports emerged that its former CEO Travis Kalanick and an influential investor had buried the hatchet in a long feud that paved the way for the acquisition. Those changes are contingent on the SoftBank investing in Uber.

Some investors worry that the Vision Fund will buy into startups at high prices, overinflating the market, while crowding out other investors and prolonging the time it takes for young companies to go public.

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

SoftBank, along with Dragoneer and General Atlantic, are expected to invest at least $1 billion in Uber and purchase up to $9 billion worth of Uber shares from existing investors. A source with knowledge of the matter said that the deal comes with a resolution to have an initial public offering by 2019. SoftBank is expected to buy shares from Uber at the company's current valuation of almost $70 billion, but the price of the secondary stock sale - in which existing investors sell - is expected to be lower. During that process, a price will be set for the existing Uber shares.

If the deal materialises, SoftBank would be an investor in two of Indias largest on-demand cab services, Uber and Ola. "I'm sure Uber will continue to grow from strength to strength in India and South Asia", Kohli said in an e-mailed statement. People from SoftBank did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Early employees also stand to sell for significant sums.