Ja­pan’s SoftBank: ‘No fi­nal agree­ment’ on Uber

Manila Times - - BUSINESS -

TOKYO: Ja­panese tech gi­ant SoftBank Tues­day said there was - vest­ment in Uber and warned it could pull out of a po­ten­tial deal if the terms were un­sat­is­fac­tory.

The state­ment came af­ter Uber said it had en­tered an agree­ment with a con­sor­tium led by SoftBank and in­vest­ment group Dragoneer on what it termed a “po­ten­tial in­vest­ment”.

Uber un­veiled the deal af­ter for­mer CEO Travis Kalan­ick and buried the hatchet af­ter a long feud.

But the Ja­panese firm voiced cau­tion, say­ing: “While the SoftBank Group side is con­sid­er­ing an agree­ment at this stage.

“If con­di­tions on share price and a min­i­mum of shares are not sat­is­fac­tory for the SoftBank Group side, there is a pos­si­bil­ity the SoftBank Group may not make an in­vest­ment,” the state­ment added.

The Ja­panese group, founded by bil­lion­aire ty­coon Masayoshi Son, ex­pressed an in­ter­est sev­eral months ago in in­vest­ing around $1 bil­lion in Uber for a stake of at least 14 per­cent.

A deal would be pos­i­tive for Uber, which is seek­ing to turn the page af­ter re­cent re­peated scan­dals, among them work­place sex­ual ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions.

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 robot with Chi­nese gi­ant Alibaba.

It is send­ing tremors through the tech world with a its mas­sive new Vi­sion Fund -- a ven­ture cap­i­tal fund with $100 bil­lion cof­fers in­tended for star­tups and ex­pected to dom­i­nate the in­dus­try so thor­oughly it is play­fully re­ferred to as a “go­rilla”.

SoftBank shares were down 0.75 per­cent on the news with Makoto Sen­goku, mar­ket an­a­lyst at Tokai Tokyo Re­search Cen­tre, say­ing that in­vestors were un­der­whelmed with the news.

“It’s good that SoftBank is al­ways pos­i­tive to­wards in­vest­ing in fast­grow­ing com­pa­nies. But if you look not grow­ing even while op­er­at­ing

“You can­not ex­pect quick re­turns not grow­ing,” added the an­a­lyst.

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