Uber nears deal for huge Softbank investment

Japan's SoftBank 'No final agreement' on Uber

Uber was close on Sunday to finalizing a deal to sell a significant stake of itself to SoftBank, a Japanese conglomerate, paving the way for the ride-hailing company to make sweeping governance changes and to go public by 2019.

"We've entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer on a potential investment", Uber said in a statement to Gizmodo today.

The deal is giving the world's most valuable startup an additional $1 billion in capital and could allow SoftBank to acquire as much as 14 per cent of Uber over time.

The transaction will be conducted through a tender-offer process and may take at least one month to be completed. Uber wants to strengthen its corporate governance.

A spokeswoman for Benchmark did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment, while a spokesman for Kalanick declined to comment.

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Meanwhile, SoftBank has been diversifying through investment for several years, and has ventured into sectors outside its core mobile technology business - completing deals with the likes of French robotics firm Aldebaran and e-commerce with Chinese giant Alibaba (Berlin: AHLA.BE - news). We believe this agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Uber's long-term potential. He still has a seat on the company's board.

Can You Draw the Starbucks Logo Without Cheating? Some of Uber's early investors, like the venture capital firm Benchmark, initially wanted to retain certain shareholder rights that they hold through their Uber stock, according to two of the people briefed on the discussions.

Benchmark has agreed not to work with other investors to prop up the price during the tender offer. "We are interested in Uber but the final deal will depend on the tender price and a minimum percentage shareholding for SoftBank", Misra said in a statement.

The SoftBank group is also expected to increase its ownership in the global transportation technology company. SoftBank is a major investor in Ola and Grab, Uber's rivals in those regions. Uber left the China market in 2016 by selling its operation to Didi and taking a minority investment stake in the new company.

Uber's 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. Both companies have pumped in millions of dollars towards rider discounts and driver incentives.

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