Wednesday, 17 January, 2018

Softbank buys large stake in Uber

SoftBank buys large stake in Uber: WSJ SoftBank Succeeds in Tender Offer for Large Stake in Uber
Kenneth Drake | 29 December, 2017, 01:52

The Japanese conglomerate set a threshold for its bid at 14 percent and while it's now able to purchase almost 50 percent more than it originally planned, it's reportedly limiting its offer to a 15 percent stake. The closing of the deal will also mark the end of the company's supervoting share structure, moving the company to a "one share, one vote" system that further weakens the influence of early executives and shareholders.

SoftBank's bid to purchase a sizable stake in ride-hailing titan Uber has succeeded.

The deal nevertheless sharply discounts Uber's value, which a year ago was estimated at nearly $70 billion. Uber is losing more than $1bn each quarter and a new cash infusion is critical.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Thursday that the tender deal would be successful, citing unnamed sources. Most notably, the board of directors will be expanded from 11 seats to 17, up three of which are set to go to the Japanese telecommunications giant. The price is less important than locking in the governance changes and securing the support of the world's most powerful technology investor,"said Erik Gordon an entrepreneurship expert at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business".


"If the stockholders hadn't taken the price, the value of the company would have been battered by a return to stockholder infighting and the possibility of Kalanick's return".

"We look forward to working with the purchasers to close the overall transaction, which we expect to support our technology investments, fuel our growth, and strengthen our corporate governance", said in Uber spokesperson in a statement. In an earlier report in August, the paper said Uber was losing roughly $9,000 a vehicle, 18 times more than previously believed.

Softbank has made a series of high-profile tech investments and shown an appetite for investments in ride-sharing, backing China's Didi Chuxing and Southeast Asian taxi-hailing app Grab, among other companies. The company still faces numerous legal challenges, including a massive trade secrets lawsuit with Alphabet's self-driving auto unit Waymo and multiple government investigations into potentially illegal business practices.

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