SoftBank reportedly buys major stake in Uber at a big discount

Soft Bank Group Corp. Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son speaks during a Soft Bank World presentation at a hotel in Tokyo

SoftBank reportedly buys major stake in Uber at a big discount

Sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that Uber employees and investors have tendered shares equal to around 20 percent of the company.

The tender offer values Uber at $48bn (£36bn), nearly a third lower than its most recent valuation of $69bn. That's a roughly 30 percent discount over Uber's most recent valuation of close to $70 billion. SoftBank and the rest of consortium, which includes Dragoneer Investment Group, will own about 17.5%, including a secondary share purchase from earlier investors and employees, as well as $1.25bn of fresh funding. He continued: "We have tremendous confidence in Uber's leadership and employees and are excited to support Uber as it continues to reinvent how people and goods are transported around the world".

Also, SoftBank holds investments in multiple Uber competitors, so it will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. Dara Khosrowshahi, the former CEO of Expedia, took Kalanick's place in August after a lengthy search. The Japanese telecommunications giant acquired about 15% of the company in the deal, which valued the the company at $48 billion and included an additional $1.25 billion to buy shares directly from the company.

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Earlier on Thursday, SoftBank made a so-called tender offer to Uber investors and shareholders, proposing to pay a reported $33 per share for their stock in the company. The company is also planning an initial public offering in 2019.

We are appreciative of the support from Uber's shareholders in the successful tender offer and look forward to closing the overall investment in January.

Rajeev Misra, the chief executive of SoftBank's Vision Fund, a $98bn tech investment vehicle, will join the Uber board, along with a second representative from SoftBank.

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

Uber's board of directors, which had devolved into a power struggle between Uber's former CEO, Travis Kalanick, and its largest investor, Benchmark, will now likely be calmer.

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.

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