SoftBank succeeds in tender offer for big stake in Uber

29 December, 2017, 01:49 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • Travis Kalanick whose departure from Uber showed the cost of a toxic company culture

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 SoftBank deal triggers new governance terms at Uber that were approved by the company's board in October, though. With this tender offer, Khosrowshahi was able convince some of the company's early powerbrokers, including venture capital firm Benchmark Capital, to whittle down their stakes in the company to bring on what he believes will be a stabilizing force in SoftBank. It marks the first significant piece of business for new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who is now preparing the embattled ride-hailing company to go public by 2019. SoftBank will occupy two seats on the company's board and will now be an extremely influential player in decisions at Uber.

SoftBank's investment consortium also includes Dragoneer Investment Group and Tencent Holdings.

The tender offer values Uber at $48bn (£36bn), nearly a third lower than its most recent valuation of $69bn.

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Softbank will invest $1 billion into Uber in hopes of ridding investor concerns the tender offer lowers the value of remaining shares, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The development suggests many investors in Uber are now prepared to cash out, with SoftBank's offer being beneficial to anyone who backed the company in a period between 2010 and 2013.

The deal will allow SoftBank to invest a significant amount of its "Vision Fund", a $100 billion fund earmarked for technology-focused companies around the world.

Uber will use the investment "to support our technology investments, fuel our growth, and strengthen our corporate governance", a spokesperson, who declined to be named, said.

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

Some initial investors in the consortium, including General Atlantic, dropped out over disagreement about the price offered to shareholders, Reuters previously reported. In an earlier report in August, the paper said Uber was losing roughly $9,000 a vehicle, 18 times more than previously believed.

Uber hasn't had a great year.

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