Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Uber deal gives Softbank a stake and eases board tensions

Uber deal gives Softbank a stake and eases board tensions

According to Bloomberg, SoftBank, along with Dragoneer Investment Group and General Atlantic, will directly invest $1 billion into Uber at a almost $70 billion valuation.

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

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At the same time it is buying around $9 billion of Uber shares from existing shareholders to give it a stake of around 14 per cent in the ride hailing company. "Upon closing, it will help fuel our investments in technology and our continued expansion at home and overseas, while strengthening our corporate governance", said an Uber spokesman. Those shares will be purchased at a lower valuation.

In a rare, pointed statement from the head of SoftBank's Vision Fund, the Japanese investors sought to downplay its interest in pursuing a deal no matter what. Investors include TPG, Tiger Global, DST Global and Chinese investor Tencent Holdings.

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For former Uber employees, the Softbank deal could enable them to turn their paper riches into potentially millions in cash, unleashing another horde of wealthy technology types on San Francisco.

If the SoftBank investment goes through, Uber is likely to see changes to its governance, reducing former CEO Travis Kalanick's role on the board for example.

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Benchmark, the venture capital firm that invested early in Uber and has a board seat, agreed to drop its lawsuit against Mr Kalanick, which it launched in August in an attempt to reduce the controversial co-founder's power at the company.

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