Taxi-hailing company Uber has said it's struck a deal that may eventually lead to a massive investment in the company by a consortium led by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank and Dragoneer of San Francisco.
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The agreement follows an Oct 3 Uber board meeting, in which directors voted to move forward with an investment from SoftBank.
Uber had said funds from SoftBank, subject to the closure of the deal, would help the US-based startup fuel investments in technology and expansion in its home market as well as other countries. Kalanick is agreeing to give Uber's board majority approval over the board seats he controls should he ever need to fill them again, the people said.
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.
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But the Japanese firm voiced caution, saying: "While the SoftBank Group side is considering an investment in Uber, there is no final agreement at this stage".
"SoftBank shows a remarkable amount of bravery, confidence and optimism to look to apply this much money in technology", said Bill Maris, who started Google Ventures almost a decade ago and runs his own California-based investment firm Section 32.
SoftBank, along with Dragoneer and General Atlantic, are expected to invest at least $1 billion in Uber and purchase up to $9 billion worth of Uber shares from existing investors. During that process, a price will be set for the existing Uber shares.
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"There is value to fixing the governance problems, but that value should not be given to new outside investors through an undervalued tender offer", said Glen Kacher, president of Light Street Capital Management LLC, which owns stock from Uber's Series E financing round. If SoftBank doesn't get enough buyers, it could propose a higher price or walk away.