SoftBank buys large stake in Uber


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.

SoftBank will likely limit the stake it acquires to 15% in the tender offer, which values Uber at $48 billion, the [people familiar with the matter] said.

The price offered for the shares valued the firm at $48bn and was a discount to Uber's most recent fundraising round, but for some of the firm's earliest investors could provide a big payoff. Early investors like Benchmark Capital and Menlo are understood to be the ones that are selling the largest amount of Uber shares as part of SoftBank's offer and will see a return of approximately 3,600 times their investment.

"We have tremendous confidence in Uber's leadership and employees and are excited to support Uber".

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Uber said: "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". Dara Khosrowshahi, the former CEO of Expedia, took Kalanick's place in August after a lengthy search. As CNNMoney has previously reported, this latter investment was contingent on SoftBank getting enough Uber insiders to sell for it to gain a stake of at least 14%.

SoftBank offered $33 per Uber share. Two of those seats will go to SoftBank. However some Uber investors were concerned the price SoftBank was offering was too low, according to Recode. Kalanick resigned from his post earlier this year after a number of scandals, but still maintains a seat on the company's board of directors, where he is surrounded by allies and controls 16 percent of the voting power. Didi last week raised US$4 billion, including some investment from SoftBank.

Uber Technologies Inc said in September it was shutting down the auto-leasing business, which had heavy losses.

The investment comes after a year of troubles for Uber, including a lawsuit by Alphabet Inc's self-driving vehicle unit Waymo, that alleges trade secrets theft, and federal investigations that include possible bribery of foreign officials in Asian countries and the use of software to evade regulators.