Uber Sells Stake to SoftBank, Valuing Ride-Hailing Giant at $48 Billion

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The tender offer values Uber at $48bn (£36bn), nearly a third lower than its most recent valuation of $69bn.

SoftBank Group Corp. has succeeded in its bid to buy a large stake in Uber Technologies Inc.at a steep discount, after the ride-hailing company's investors and employees tendered shares equal to about 20% of the company, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

SoftBank is also investing $1.25 billion in new capital in Uber at its most recent $70 billion valuation.

As part of the deal, Kalanick agreed that he can not fill the three board seats he controls in the future without majority approval by the board.

Kalanick stepped down in June following revelations that his company's culture had become toxic and encouraged sexism and inappropriate behavior. But SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son had repeatedly teased the possibility - some might say threat - of investing in Lyft instead, including as recently as last month. Uber is losing more than US$1 billion each quarter, and a new cash infusion is critical. 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.

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Getting the company ready to go public will be Khosrowshahi's ultimate goal over the next year, though it won't be easy. 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".

Misra said in a statement that SoftBank has "tremendous confidence in Uber's leadership and employees".

Some initial investors in the consortium, including General Atlantic, dropped out over disagreement about the price offered to shareholders, Reuters previously reported.

Over the past year, a former employee's charges of endemic sexual harassment led to an internal review, the mayor of London said he would strip Uber of its licence and Uber revealed it had covered up a major hack. The company still faces numerous legal challenges, including a massive trade secrets lawsuit with Alphabet's self-driving vehicle unit Waymo and multiple government investigations into potentially illegal business practices.

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