Uber Is Close to Deal to Sell Stake to SoftBank

The ride-hailing startup said 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

Ride hailing firm Uber has clinched a deal with Japan's SoftBank and San Francisco's Dragoneer on an investment that could lead the way to its stock market flotation in 2019.

If investors are reluctant to sell and SoftBank cannot hit its threshold of 14 per cent ownership of Uber, SoftBank can walk away from the deal.

Uber has suffered a tumultuous few months which has seen former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick forced out after a series of boardroom controversies and other regulatory battles in multiple USA states and around the world.

The statement added that it has entered into a potential investment deal and that it will use the funds to fuel its investments in technology, expansion in the U.S. and overseas, and will allow Uber to strengthen its corporate governance.

SoftBank Investment Advisors and SoftBank Group Corp board director, Rajeev Misra emphasised that "by no means is our investment decided".

Discussions between Softbank and Uber will now revolve around proposed price at which the former will buy stock and number of shares to be purchased.

Uber's [UBER.UL] chief of policy for India and South Asia has quit, two sources familiar with the matter said on Monday, in the latest high-level departure at the online taxi company. Benchmark and others ultimately agreed to waive those rights in exchange for concessions from SoftBank over the tender offer process, the people said.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said earlier this month that is was possible SoftBank could pull out of its deal with Uber and instead back its largest rival, Lyft.

Uber does not necessarily need new money, as it has raised more than $10 billion in debt and equity and has some $5 billion in the bank. If the investment were to come through, Softbank would then become an investor in both companies.

Interestingly, Ola and Uber are locked in an intense battle for leadership in the Indian market.

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