Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Uber: Deal in works to sell stake to SoftBank

Uber's Kalanick, Shareholder Settle Feud, Clearing Way for SoftBank Deal Uber nears deal for huge Softbank investment
Velma Reese | 13 November, 2017, 21:35

Uber Technologies Inc's board members have come to an agreement which will allow a multibillion-dollar investment by Japan-based SoftBank Group Corp to proceed.

Benchmark and former CEO Travis Kalanick are two of the largest shareholders, and it's uncertain whether either party wants to sell any of their stake.

The ride-hailing startup said Sunday 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. The deal also includes Uber governance changes. Should current Uber investors decide that Softbank's buyout offer isn't tempting enough for them to sell up, it would seem that Kalanick will be back on the hook.

"We are interested in Uber but the final deal will depend on the tender price and a minimum percentage shareholding for SoftBank".

Under the terms of the deal, it is understood that Softbank will lead a $1 billion funding round with participation of Dragoneer Investment Group, a San Francisco-based investor.

"We believe this agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Uber's long-term potential", it said.

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According to Fortune, Kalanick, who still controls three board seats, including his own.

The stakes are high. Son has spearheaded the new round of investment in Uber.

Softbank is a major Japanese conglomerate which has made a habit of investing in tech firms in Silicon Valley, with the likes of Slack and WeWork already on the receiving end of major investments from the company, which also bought United Kingdom chipmaker ARM Holdings. The case had been set to go to arbitration. "Upon closing, it will help fuel our investments in technology and our continued expansion at home and overseas, while strengthening our corporate governance". It also reduced Kalanick's and Benchmark's influence on the board by removing special voting powers in two categories of stock held disproportionately by Kalanick.

Kalanick resigned from his position as CEO following months of scandals and shareholder pressure, as well as the death of his mother in a boating accident.

"There's negotiations going on", he said. "Because all the parties, in the end, they know this is a good direction".

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