Softbank’s $1bn deal with Uber

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - By Lau­ren David­son

A MULTI-BIL­LION dol­lar in­vest­ment in Uber by Ja­panese tech gi­ant Softbank was set to be signed last night af­ter for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive Travis Kalan­ick and a com­bat­ant share­holder made peace. Bench­mark, the ven­ture cap­i­tal firm that in­vested early in Uber and has a board seat agreed to drop

its law­suit against Mr Kalan­ick, which it launched in Au­gust, to try to re­duce the con­tro­ver­sial co-founder’s power at the com­pany.

In re­turn, Mr Kalan­ick, who re­fused to ap­prove Softbank’s in­vest­ment un­til Bench­mark dropped their le­gal chal­lenge against him, will grant Uber’s board ma­jor­ity ap­proval should he want to re­place the board seats he con­trols.

Softbank is ex­pected to in­vest at least $1 bil­lion (£0.76m) in Uber and buy $9 mil­lion worth of shares from ex­ist­ing stake­hold­ers.

The deal could be the largest pri­vate stock sale ever. As part of the deal, Uber agreed to ex­pand its board from 11 to 17 seats, re­duce Mr Kalan­ick’s dis­pro­por­tion­ate vot­ing power and float the com­pany by the end of 2019.

The SoftBank in­vest­ment will al­low early back­ers and em­ploy­ees to sell their shares sooner.

SoftBank will buy new Uber shares at the com­pany’s cur­rent val­u­a­tion of $67.5 bil­lion, but from ex­ist­ing share­hold­ers at a lower price.

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