Uber sells stake to Softbank for 30% discount

SoftBank Group Corp. has succeeded in its bid to buy a large stake in Uber Technologies Inc.at a steep discount, after the ride-hailing company's investors and employees tendered shares equal to about 20% of the company, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Uber's legal tangles include 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. The deal is good news for SoftBank, which has been trying to get a stake in Uber for years, and good news for the ride-sharing company, which should see an immediate influx of much-needed cash.

The shake-up was supported by Uber's new chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who has said he hopes to list Uber's shares publicly in 2019. The deadline for tender offers was 8pm (GMT).

The moves come as Uber concludes a hard year, in which it faced a sexual harassment scandal, investigations by regulators and a lawsuit over allegedly stolen technology, among other challenges.

Once approved, the transaction will value the company at $48 billion.

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As part of the deal, Uber's board will expand from 11 members to 17 members.

The deal nevertheless sharply discounts Uber's value, which a year ago was estimated at nearly $70 billion. SoftBank is said to be limiting its purchase to 15pc, with other investors to buy the additional shares.

The group will buy most of the shares from early investors in a deal that values Uber at about $48bn (£35.7bn).

Rajeev Misra, chief executive of SoftBank's Vision Fund, a tech investment vehicle, will be nominated to the Uber board, the Journal reported.

The Journal further reports that SoftBank will receive two seats on Uber's board of directors.


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