Softbank may invest multi-billion dollar in Uber next week

Softbank

SoftBank, which received a go-ahead from Uber board early this month for its multi-billion dollar investment in the cab-hailing company, is set to infuse the fund next week, according to Uber board member Arianna Huffington.

The Japanese conglomerate, which was in talks with Uber for the past few months, will make the investment through its $93 billion Vision Fund and acquire between 14-20 percent in the ride-sharing company, according to Recode.

The investment deal will include both a direct investment in the company at the last private valuation and also a secondary transaction, buying out existing shareholders at a yet-to-be-determined discount.

“Uber is still waiting on what’s going to transpire in terms of the price,” said Huffington.

She added that having SoftBank on your cap table is very important when they’re also investing in so many of our competitors around the world.

According to earlier reports, besides SoftBank, investment firms General Atlantic and Dragoneer Investment Group are also in active talks with Uber. The three investment firms can invest at least $1 billion in Uber at a $69 billion valuation, while buying as much as $9 billion in shares from existing investors.

Benchmark was approached by SoftBank in June about a potential investment and met with founder Masayoshi Son in July in the Bay Area. But the VC firm stalled the process once it began tangling with Kalanick.

Last month, venture capital firm Benchmark, one of Uber’s largest shareholders, sought a guarantee from SoftBank that it would reject reappointing Kalanick as CEO and block his appointment as chairman of the board or head of one of its subcommittees. Benchmark had led the ouster of Kalanick in June.

In August, Benchmark had also filed a lawsuit against Kalanick accusing the former chief executive of fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

Huffington also spoke about the difficult period Uber has faced in the past few months. The company’s work environment had come under fire, leading to the departure of several key executives, including co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick.

She voiced optimism about Uber’s new leader, Dara Khosrowshahi. Calling him “unflappable,” she said that there’s a renewed focus on image. His “goal is to get people to love the company and not just the product”. Huffington also said that Khosrowshahi has a greater focus on cost-cutting, in order to meet the goal of taking Uber public by 2019.

 

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